One of the most famous salad ingredient, lettuce belongs to the Asteraceae family of flowering plants that also includes artichokes. Native to ancient Egypt, Lettuce consumption quickly spread to Greece, Rome and then further onto North America and other parts of Europe. The easy to grow green Lettuce is a low-calorie food rich in many minerals and nutrients. Have it to enrich your body with the benefits of Vitamin A, B6, C, E, K, folate, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, and many others. Intake of these soothing-green leaves helps in preventing anemia, osteoporosis, certain types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and even Alzheimer’s.
A powerful antioxidant, eating lettuce fights free radical attacks and neutralizes them effectively. It also possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and sleep-inducing properties. This in turn helps tackle anxiety issues and lowers bad cholesterol or LDL levels, while also normalizing blood sugar and blood pressure.
Lettuce can be had raw in salads, sandwiches, burgers, and other healthy alternatives of your favorite fast food preparations. It can also be steamed, sauteed and stir-fried. It is also commonly seen as a fresh green leafy bed in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian sizzlers.
Sowing Time : mid Sept – mid nov Sowing Distance : Line to line = 1” Fruit Weight : N/A Fruit Shape : N/A Days to Maturity : 80 to 85 days
Grow Guide: PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS
– Due to the small seed size , a well-tilled seedbed is essential. Large clods will reduce germination.
– Direct sowing is recommended as soon as the soil can be made. Plant seeds ½ inch deep.
– You can sow seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before spring for an early crop. Harden off seedlings for approximately one week, and transplant outside either 2 weeks before or 2 weeks after the winter ends.
Seeds may be sown in single rows with proper spacing. Leaf Lettuce – Plant 4 inches apart. Loose-headed types – Plant 8 inches apart. Firm-headed types – Plant 16 inches apart.
Your rows of plants should be 12 to 15 inches across. Pass over the seeds with ¼ to ½ inch of soil.
WATERING: Lettuce needs a steady water supply.
PESTS: Lettuce is susceptible to insect pests that attack the plant and either kill it completely or do irreparable damage. Some of the most common lettuce pests are: Earwigs, Cutworms, White Mold, Woodchucks, Rabbits, Aphids.
SOIL: Make sure soil remains moist but is well-drained. Loamy soil is favoured. An organic mulch will help preserve moisture, inhibit weeds, and keep soil temperatures cool throughout the warmer months. A pH between 6.0 and 7.0 is preferred.
SPOT: Although lettuce grows fastest in full sunlight, it is one of the few vegetables that tolerates some shade. In fact, a spring crop often lasts longer if shaded from the afternoon sunshine as the season warms.
TEMPERATURE: Lettuce grows well in a cool climate with optimum temperatures for growth ranging from 60 to 65°F.
HOW TO HARVEST
Lettuce should be harvested when it is nice, tender, & fully matured in size just before adulthood.
Before maturity, you can harvest leaf lettuce by simply removing outer leaves so that the centre leaves can grow unhindered. A second harvest is often possible this way. Crisphead lettuce is picked when the core is firm.