Lettuce is very popular with the home gardener for very good reasons, fresh taste and easy to grow. Our heirlooms have a vast colour palate, are full of vitamins, minerals and good fibre.
Normally classed as a cool season crop, we have trialed lots of lettuce from hotter parts of the world , to find varieties that can extend the growing season. We have classed our collection as Spring/Fall or Summer varieties. The heat lovers can also be seeded in the spring or late spring.
Lettuce usually likes to be warm to germinate well, so can be started early in containers to transplant out, or direct seeded. On the coast, the cool selections, do very well in cold frames or cloches to extend the season. They will also reseed themselves, if you allow the mature plants to go to seed. This is how we test for cold tolerance, we will have plants sprouting in our test gardens in February, from varieties gone to seed the summer before.
Here is a brief outline of the types of lettuce available in our collection .
Loose leaf- has an open growth habit, from the base, and can be used as cut and come again for baby leaf harvest, they can regrow if not harvested completely and form loose heads at maturity.
Butterhead- famous for it’s smooth texture sweet flavour and heading form when mature. Some of the heirlooms of this type, only form a loose head.
Oak leaf- A loose leaf type, with oak shaped leaves and a vast colour variation. Usually more heat tolerant.
Romaine- Form tall loose heads of crispy leaves and a tender heart, also good for spring and summer.
Mini- these varieties are extremely fast growers, ideal for a small garden and containers.