Lettuce

Growing lettuce successfully is not as simple as it may seem. The soil should be in good heart and have adequate levels of moisture and lime. Timely thinning to avoid overcrowding and build up of disease is vital. Try to keep plants growing consistently by watering in dry weather as this helps to avoid bolting. Soil pests can be controlled with a proprietary chemical, while slugs will need to be dealt with. Downy Mildew and Botrytis can also be a problem and can be treated with relevant fungicides. Lettuce, a cool-season vegetable, is extremely sensitive to high temperatures. If direct seeded during high temperatures, seed dormancy may result. Use transplants that are 3 to 4 weeks old. Time your planting of the crop so it matures during periods of cool temperatures.

Summer to Autumn

Sow outdoors from April to July, thin seedlings to a final spacing of 30cm (1ft) [Little Gem and Salad Bowl types 23cm (9")]. Leave 30cm (1ft) between the rows. Sow under glass during February in small peat pots planting out under cloches in March for early crops. Transplanting thinnings can be undertaken, but lettuce do not like disturbance.

BUTTERHEAD

ALL THE YEAR ROUND
Cabbage type, suitable for spring, summer or autumn sowing.

CONTINUITY
Reddish tinged leaves of fine flavour. Quick to mature, recommended for successional sowing.

DIANA
Attractive dark green butterhead type, with strong mildew resistance ideal for late spring - late summer sowings.

TOM THUMB
Small compact dark green heads, excellent for smaller gardens.

COS

LITTLE GEM
Neat small semi-cos of outstanding quality. Very sweet. Quick to mature.

LOBJOITS GREEN COS
A dark green self-folding cos type. Suitable for sowing spring to summer.

RUSTY
Distinctive red cos, the size of Lobjoits. Crisp texture, full of flavour. Well worth a try.

WINTER DENSITY
Between Little Gem and Lobjoits in size, this variety can be sown in autumn for overwintering, as well as in the spring/summer, like most traditional cos lettuce.

CLAREMONT
Outstanding cos type with sweet crunchy leaves. Excellent vigour and disease resistance. Slow to bolt.

NYMANS
A mid sized cherry red cos lettuce with yellow hearts. Slow to bolt and can be grown at high density.

CRISPHEAD

ICEBERG
Very large crisp white hearts. Very good flavour. Outside leaves tinged with red edges.

SALADIN
A superior Iceberg type. Large solid, very crisp hearts.

WEBB'S WONDERFUL
Large, crisp leaved with solid hearts. Slower to bolt in hot weather than some varieties.

ROBINSON
Fast growing crisphead for spring and summer production. Solid hearts are crisp and tender. Good resistance to Mildew and Root Aphid.

LOOSE LEAF

SALAD BOWL
Red version of salad bowl, adds colour to salads.

CAN CAN
Non hearting with bright green leaves. Highly productive shows good tolerance to tip burn and bolting.

RED FIRE
Highly frilled bronze-red leaves that excite both the eye and the palate. Can be harvested whole or picked over. Excellent bolting resistance enables cutting to go on into the autumn.

CATALOGNA (OAK LEAF)
Excellent oak leaf type suitable for summer and autumn cropping. Tender, lightly bronzed leaves can be picked a few at a time or the whole plant can be cut. Slow to bolt.

AMERICAN CURLED
This variety has leaves which are pretty and curled. Very crisp and sweet when harvested young.

UBRIACONA FRASTAGLIATA
An Italian heirloom variety. Loose leaved bicoloured, red and green leaves.

SALAD BOWL
Non hearting type. Pick the abundant foliage when young.

ARUBA Red salad Bowl
A red salad-bowl type, for all seasons. It produces leaves of good glossy colour on small stems. Slow to bolt.

LOLLO ROSSA
Small loose hearts of crinkled green leaves with red-tinged edges. Superior quality loose-leaf type.

Winter ( Greenhouse )

Sow August to September without heat or October to January with heat. This will produce a fresh supply of lettuce from October to April.

KELLYS
A really good bright green crisphead short day cultivar, which crops April-June.

MONTEL
This fast growing lettuce it is suitable for all of the short day period. Mid-green, medium sized indoor butterhead type. Can be sown from mid October April.

Spring

Sow end of August to September outdoors and thin to 7.5cm (3") apart before the winter sets in, complete thinning to 30cm (1ft) in the spring.

VALDOR
A hardy variety for autumn sowing only. Produces large deep green lettuce for spring use.

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