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Good Life Garden

Lettuce

Lactuca sativa
season varies

In Our Garden


Barcarole
Compact 10-12" romaine with dark-green, crisp leaves, rich flavor, and beautiful hearts. It is also exceptionally frost tolerant.

Lettle Caesar
Miniature romaine type with dark green, slightly rounded, thick outer leaves and yellow centers. Perfect for close spacing. Stays sweet and crisp, and never gets bitter.

Outredgeous
As its name suggests, it is a dark red romaine variety that is upright with a loose romaine head at maturity.

Red Sails
Extrememly slow to bolt, the attractive heads of the Red Sails variety have ruffled, fringed leaves of deep burgundy over green. Nice and crisp, it retains its bitter-free taste for a long time.

In History

Garden lettuce is thought to be a selected variety of Lactuca serriola, found throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is believed to have been first cultivated in Egypt but was also a favorite amongst the Greeks.

Medieval paintings often depict the lady of the house harvesting frilly lettuces. The delicate vegetables are believed to have been regarded as dainty enough to be touched by refined hands.

During Medieval times lettuce was used for medicinal purposes to relieve insomnia and even gonorrhea.

Cultivation

Growing Tips:
Lettuce prefers cool growing conditions as it can often bolt in high temperatures. Keep the soil moist to avoid its shallow roots from going dry.

Harvesting Tips:
Begin harvesting leaves when there are at least 5 to 6 of stable size. Continue to pick until a seed stock appears or the lettuce becomes bitter.

To achieve that extra nutritional boost from your home-grown lettuce, harvest in the early morning for maximum carotene and flavor.

Why It's Good for You

Deep green lettuce leaves provide a wealth of nutrients, including Vitamins C and K and folate along with minerals potassium and magnesium.

Supplying only 25 calories per cup, lettuce is a nutritional bargain excellent for heart health.

Did You Know

Plant carrots under lettuce leaves as they keep the sensitive seedlings safe by providing moisture and shade. Harvest out the lettuce when ready and your carrots will fill the space as they grow to full size.

Let's Eat

How to Buy:
Choose lettuce with crisp leaves that show no signs of wilting or discoloration, also avoid leaves with an overly tough texture.

How to Store:
Lettuce heads can be stored refrigerated in a plastic bag for no longer than a week. Lettuce that is purchased as a salad mix is best used immediately but can last in a plastic bag refrigerated for a couple of days.

How to Prepare:
When preparing a head of lettuce, trim the base of brown spots and remove any tough, wilted, or discolored leaves. Snap the leaves from the base and break them into bite size pieces with your hands. In France it is seen as impolite to cut your lettuce with a knife, so it is the duty of the host to provide bite size pieces. Allow your lettuce to soak in a bowl of water for a few minutes to remove any dirt and then dry with a salad spinner or tea towel.

Quality fresh greens just need the addition of a simple salad dressing to allow them to shine. At the bottom of a large salad bowl combine Dijon mustard and olive oil mixing diligently until the two emulsify. Add finely chopped chives then salt and pepper to taste. Pile freshly picked mixed greens on top and gently mix before serving. If you have any fresh tarragon on hand, this makes a lovely addition.

 

Pest Management


Here is a list of common pests and diseases that may affect your lettuce in California. For more information follow the link provided to the University of California Integrated Pest Management website.
  • Aphids
    In the early 19th century, the Phylloxera aphid wiped out the grape production throughout Western Europe. Aphids are extremely prolific, producing upwards of 20 generations in one season. They live in dense populations, and when living situations become too stressed they can flee by growing wings…
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  • Corn earworm
    These guys affect a wide variety of crops, and their name changes depending on the crop they invade. They like to feed on corn kernels, and they damage and contaminate tomatoes by boring into them, leaving feces behind…
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  • Grasshoppers
    While there are over 200 varieties of grasshoppers found in California, only a few are known to cause serious crop damage. They have a preference for young, green plants, and with their complex mouths they are able to tear large chunks of leaves off of plants…
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  • Vegetable weevil
    It can be difficult to pinpoint the vegetable weevil as both the adults and larvae are largely active at night. They do not fly, and this prevents damage from occurring rapidly…
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  • Big vein
    This is a virus-like condition with a striking appearance. The veins on an infected plant’s leaves become more pronounced, and the foliage surrounding the veins becomes ruffled and puckered. The stark difference in shape and textures is particularly apparent when viewed against a light source...
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  • Gray mold (Botrytis rot)
    With a preference for damp, cold environments, plants infected with this fungus become noticeably soft and water-soaked…
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  • Sclerotinia lettuce drop (watery soft rot)
    Excessive soil moisture and little circulation in between plants promote the growth of this cottony white mold at the base and crown. Leaves wilt rapidly as a result…
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