Last year I planted 4 kinds of loose leaf. 3 were so bitter no one would eat it but the chickens. 1 was ok, but still bitter. I live in N. California zone 9b. Now is the time to grow heat sensitive crops, like peas, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, etc.. I want to plant lettuce again this fall, I will water more in hopes that will help. I was thinking that different lettuces has different flavors. I thought I would ask my permies friends what kind of lettuce do you enjoy growing and eating? Thanks, happy gardening.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” — Abraham Lincoln
Hi Jen, i like to plant winter salad in winter. It can stand a freeze and keeps growing. A friend gave seeds, it said winter lettuce, i harvested a ton of seeds this summer of this kind. There is also a four season one, which doesn't like the cold, so not really four seasons. When lettuces grow slow they get bitter, or when they start to bloom. Sometimes i take the leaves of the outside, if growing is fast, they're not bitter, sometimes i cut off the whole head, they come back with four heads, slim and tender. If the lettuce is too bitter i like to add sliced apple and carrot, red beets, nuts of all kinds,tomatoes, miner's lettuce or summer purslane, blackberry leave or fennel seeds or all together and feta cheese or mozarella and egg, pear, peach, fig or sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds without husk. Oils of all kinds and a sauce of mustard and honey.
If i feel like it, i mix all in, oh my, it can be a whole meal like that, 20 minutes of surprises and taste explosions , losing kilos, ponds fly off!
The big problem now is summer time, i have an African salad, but it was too dry for it, next year i turn to growing lettuce under the oak trees, it will get some morning sun and for the rest of the day dappled light.
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I grow a red oakleaf variety a romaine and little gem (baby romaine) Now my climate is not at all the same as yours so I can grow these all summer long. and I grow them because that's what my customers want, and little gem holds very well on my roadside stand, lose leaved heads just wilt within minutes even if kept with their roots in water.
if I grow just for myself I grow little gem and iceberg because that's what I want. Which exact variety I grow depends on what catches my eye when I am buying seed!
I think it takes some experimenting to find the best varieties for various locations and weather patterns. My favorite lettuces to plant were discovered out through trial and error. My summers are so hot that I don't expect to have lettuce usually beyond June, but I've found that Jericho Romaine will produce long after that if kept well watered. Even when it starts to bolt it isn't bitter. So it's my summer standard.
For winter lettuce, I like Lollo Bianda. It's cold tolerant, so in the middle south, that means winter-long lettuce because it withstands our coldest winter days. That's in the open. It produced well into spring and took a long time to turn bitter as well. I suspect it would do well for you too.
I’m in Zone3 up in Canada so lettuce stop as soon as it frosts, but, my favorite variety is Butter Crunch. It’s a pretty fast germinator and has always been not bitter for me even in the heat of summer. From bolted plants seeds can be collected easily.
Another type is the salanova type from only Johnny’s. I have some in the garden now and the person I got seeds from swears its the best out there. It’s a hybrid so its seeds aren’t true to type.... but knowing me I’m still going to try them to see what happens... who knows, it might be good?
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Rosa Mio Gardino wrote:I’m in Zone3 up in Canada so lettuce stop as soon as it frosts, but, my favorite variety is Butter Crunch.
Lettuces might not grow anymore but they still can be left outside, if they are sheltered a bit.
I have the German (rather: Austrian) equivalent of Elliott Coleman's Winter Gardening and it gave me lots of ideas.
For example about a lettuce variety that performs well in cold climate. It is a traditional variety called Forellenschluss with pretty speckled leaves.
I am using my own seeds meanwhile and it is my favourite for spring and now for fall.
Of course you have to look what grows well in your region and climate.
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do. (E.E.Hale)
The best all around lettuce for the four season grower is skyphos from Johnnys. It’s a red and green butterhead that is adaptable to a number of conditions. We grow them all year round in Michigan. They performed the best of all heads in an unheated greenhouse. Other varieties over long periods of time in the winter will develop rot on the core but not Skyphos. It’s has exceptional texture, color, and flavor. We’ve grown just about every lettuce variety available and Skyphos is the all around best performer.
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