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Lotsa Lettuce

March 16th, 2015

I’m a sucker for lettuce seeds. When I read through the descriptions and see the beautiful images in the seed catalogs I go a little overboard. I do like a lot of variety in my salad bowl and find that five or six types of lettuce makes for a great salad.
Lettuce seedlings
I have found that lettuce seeds are often best to be purchased fresh each year. I used to keep them for a few years, but germination is so much faster and so many more seeds germinate when the seeds are really fresh. Now all of my leftover seed from the year gets thrown into planters in the fall that get overwintered in the basement. Then I have a nice crop of mesclun for salads in the early winter months.
lettuce 1
On Saturday I started a flat of lettuces & endive, there are 15 varieties in all that were started this go around. There are also three other varieties in planters in the basement…..and I have another 15 that are later season varieties that will replace these when the weather warms up a bit. Then I have another 10-15 varieties that will be grown in the fall/winter. Butterheads are my favorite types of lettuce, with romaine coming in a close second. Leaf lettuce are probably my least favorite. I like a lot of crunch and texture in my lettuce. Endive and other bitter greens are also always in my salad bowl, nothing rounds out sweet greens like a bit a bitterness!

What’s your favorite kind of lettuce to grow?

I Love Lettuce

January 19th, 2011

I’ve been sorting through all of my seeds and entering them all into a database where I can keep track of seeding dates, germination, notes about harvest and flavor. I must say that I’ve acquired quite an assortment of seeds over the past couple years. I have a few varieties of many different things like broccoli and cabbage. I thought tomatoes would take the prize for most variety of seeds with about 20 different kinds in my box. But, I was surprised to see that lettuce/greens took the prize, I actually have 3 folders full of lettuce, spinach and other greens.

I do love lettuce and who can resist all the lovely colors and shapes in the seed catalogs. I do grow a lot of lettuce and greens each spring and fall, and we do eat a lot of salads. Lettuce is a great vegetable to grow yourself because it doesn’t take up much space, it matures quickly, is pretty adaptable to most kinds of soil and can be grown easily in pots. The seeds germinate easily and grow quickly, so it’s a perfect thing for first time seed starters and gardeners. Even though I have tons of lettuce seeds in my collection I’ll still be adding a few more this year, including that ‘Roxy’ lettuce I bought at my local farmer’s market and loved.

The varieties in my seed box:
Arugula – regular
Arugula – wild
Arugula – ‘Even Star Winter’
Kale – ‘Lacinato’
Kale – ‘Lacinato Rainbow Mix’
Kale – ‘Red Russian’
Spinach – ‘Winter Bloomsdale’
Spinach – ‘Catalina’
Spinach – ‘Bloomsdale Longstanding’
Spinach – ‘Tyee’
Spinach – ‘Giant Winter’
Swiss Chard – ‘Multicolor Bright Lights’
Lettuce – ‘Rocky Top’
Lettuce – ‘Black Seeded Simpson’
Lettuce – ‘Red Sails’
Lettuce – ‘Simpson Elite’
Lettuce – ‘Jericho Romaine’
Lettuce – ‘Rouge Grenobloise’
Lettuce – ‘Sanquine Ameliore’
Lettuce – ‘Sea of Red’
Lettuce – ‘Little Gem’
Lettuce – ‘De Morges Braun’
Lettuce – ‘Brune D’Hiver’
Lettuce – ‘Winter Density’
Lettuce – ‘Seed Savers Mini Lettuce Mix’
Lettuce – ‘Sweetie Baby Romaine’
Greens – ‘Green Malabar’ Spinach
Greens – ‘New Zealand’ Spinach
Greens – ‘Scarlet Frills’ Mustard
Greens – ‘Fall Mix from Sand Hill’
Greens – Green Curled Endive
Greens – Minutina
Greens – ‘Tendergreen’ Mustard
Greens – Mache, corn salad

It would be hard for me to choose one type of lettuce or green to grow. I would have a really hard time deciding between spinach and arugula. I think arugula would probably win if push came to shove. There’s just something wonderful about this lovely green. It’s spicy and delicious and makes a wonderful salad, pesto and a killer BLT.

It’s also quite beautiful and ornamental when you let it go to seed. And a huge bonus for me is that the deer and ground hogs won’t eat it, so I don’t have to worry about protecting it.

I’ve always wanted to make an ornamental lettuce bed in one of my raised beds. I think this spring I’ll grow 4-5 different colors and shapes of lettuces and put them in a decorative arrangements. The only problem with that is then I’ll end up with a lot of mature lettuce to eat, I guess we’ll be eating lots of salad!

What kind of seeds do have the most varieties of?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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