|05-27-2008, 10:40 AM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: West Hollywood, CA
Courtesy of Ryerwood
The Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a temperate annual or biennial plant of the daisy family Asteraceae. It is most often grown as a leaf vegetable.
There are six commonly recognised Cultivar Groups of lettuce which are ordered here by head formation and leaf structure; there are hundreds of cultivars of lettuce selected for leaf shape and colour, as well as extended field and shelf life, within each of these Cultivar Groups:
▪ Butterhead, also called Boston or Bibb, forms loose heads; it has a buttery texture. Butterhead cultivars are most popular in Europe.
▪ Chinese lettuce types generally have long, sword-shaped, non-head-forming leaves, with a bitter and robust flavour unlike Western types, appropriate for use in stir-fried dishes and stews.
▪ Crisphead, also called Iceberg, which form tight, dense heads that resemble cabbage. They are generally the mildest of the lettuces, valued more for their crunchy texture than for flavour. Cultivars of iceberg lettuce are the most familiar lettuces in the USA.
▪ Looseleaf, with tender, delicate, and mildly flavoured leaves. This group comprises oak leaf and lollo rosso lettuces.
▪ Romaine, also called Cos, is a head-forming type with elongated leaves.
▪ Summer Crisp, also called Batavian, which form moderately dense heads with a crunchy texture; this type is intermediate between iceberg and looseleaf types.
Courtesy of Linda N.
Some lettuces (especially iceberg) have been specifically bred to remove the bitterness from their leaves. These lettuces have a high water content with very little nutrient value. The more bitter lettuces and the ones with pigmented leaves contain antioxidants.
Lettuce is ideal for gardeners with limited space as it doesn't require as much room to grow as many other vegetables. Most varieties can grow well from both seeds or as transplants. Crisphead lettuce is an exception to this, with a higher chance of success from transplants.
Plant your seeds in a well draining area and cover with 1/2 inch of soil. Leave about 8 - 12 inches in between your plants. Give the plants a good watering and make sure that the plants stay well irrigated. Cool weather is ideal, or in the summer time you can plant in partial shade. Remember to weed regularly as lettuce has shallow roots and will not be able to compete with entrenched weed roots.
Plant every couple of weeks for a continual harvest throughout the summer months. Take care to harvest your lettuce when it appears ready. Leaving it to sit for too long in the garden will cause the leaves to become bitter and tough.
Courtesy of currybet
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