I was going to make this lettuce post another “How to Start Gardening” post, but I wanted to write more about the varieties I am excited to try, rather than give tips on which varieties are great for beginners. Lettuce is typically easy to begin with, so any of these could be good to try.
This year, I picked up a few different lettuce mixes to try. I think I will be putting them in containers by our front deck area near our front door, which is also straight into the kitchen. So it should be easy to grab some easy salads for dinner.
When I mentioned keeping an eye out for “cut and come again” lettuces in my first How to Start Gardening post, these 3 mixes (especially the 3rd one) is ideal for that. You snip the young leaves, leaving about 1 inch of plant left for it to re-grow for another crop in a few weeks.
‘Gourmet Greens Mixture’ Mesclun. “Grow seven different salad greens with this special mix. Enjoy the complementary flavours and textures of Arugula, Endive, Red Kale, Red and Green Romaine, Salad Bowl and Lolla Rossa Lettuce. Beautiful in the garden and on the plate! Tip: Mesclun requires plenty of moisture”
‘Italian Salad Blend’ This one contains an interesting mix of: Attrazione lettuce, Bionda lettuce, Foglia di Quercia Rossa, Freckles lettuce, Meraviglia delle Quattro Stagione lettuce, Rossa di Trento lettuce, Arugula, Chicory, Rallo Rossa, Castelfranco, Ricco D’Asti Spinach, Gigante d’Inverno Spinach and Argentata Swiss Chard.
‘Bon Vivant’ Baby Leaf Lettuce Mix from Cornucopia Seeds. “Our gourmet mix offers delicious flavors, colors and textures for fast and easy baby leaf salads right from the garden. Mix of: Bambino, Simpson Elite, Esmeralda, Red Sails, Braveheart, Red Tide lettuces
My new favourite gardening ‘thing’ is growing heads of lettuce. Until last year, I have only ever grown clumps of lettuce that I cut with scissors. But it all changed last summer when I had my very first home-grown Caesar Salad from Romaine I grew from seed. It was literally the greatest salad I ever had, and now I’m hooked.
Obviously I am growing Romaine again this year, Along with some ‘Marvel of Four Seasons” Heirloom Lettuce (The “featured image” in this post). If you can find it, Give that one a try too. It is a favourite. I also have some Iceberg, Little Gem and Tom Thumb Seeds stashed too. I might add the Little Gem to my grow list, but I’ll skip the other 2 this year. BUT, If you want to try and grow to a head of lettuce, grab some Tom Thumb seeds. It grows to a little larger than a tennis ball, so its great to make a single salad. Its size makes it fun. I also discovered a pack of ‘Grand Rapids’ lettuce tucked away in the bottom of the container I keep my seeds in. I might give that a go this year if I have enough room for it… But don’t hold your breath on that one, as I kind of have my hands full already with the ones I have picked to grow for sure.
As far as new to me varieties: I picked up ‘Red Salad Bowl’ Lettuce to try and grow some heads of that, and who knows, I might find some other new kinds to try too.
In other lettuce-y type green things… I’m going to find some space for all 3 kinds of Kale I have seeds for (‘Dinosaur/Lacinato’, ‘Dwarf Green Curled’ and ‘Red Russian’). I also have ‘Bright Lights’ and ‘Rhubarb’ Swiss Chard, some Pak Choi, and some ‘Long Standing Bloomsdale’ Spinach. AND I picked up some Mustard greens to try too. They should give our salads a nice little kick. I also have some Perpetual Leaf Beet, which is like Swiss Chard. It grew well in the shady spot I put it in last year, but I think I’ll hold off this year, as I have more than enough greens to keep me occupied.