Curly leafed Lettuce 'Lollo Rossa' - Seed
Very tasty and decorative curly leafed lettuce
Lettuce seeds require no prior treatment. If you sow a few lettuce seeds every 3 weeks you will always have fresh lettuce to hand.Sowing
Sow directly into the ground, preferably in full sun, from April to September. Loosen the soil to at least 30 cm deep. Run a straight groove along the bed, about 1 cm deep. Stick a label in the soil at the edge of the bed. Mix the seed with a fine sand and sow along the groove as thinly as possible using thumb and forefinger. Cover the seed with 0.5 cm soil, press down lightly and sprinkle with water. Extra rows should be 20 cm apart. Sow under glass from March – use a cold frame or a box indoors. Use a fine potting compost and sow the seed mixed with fine sand, evenly over the soil. Cover to no more than 0.5 cm. Press down lightly, sprinkle with water and cover with a sheet of glass or cling film. Place the boxes in the light at room temperature or stand them in the cold frame. Once the seeds have germinated, remove the cover. Using a miniature greenhouse is also suitable. Seeds germinate in 7-10 days, depending on the temperature. Approximately 2-3 weeks later, the seedlings can be thinned and planted out - in peat pots they can remain indoors or in the cold frame for longer and transplanted outdoors later. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Plant outdoors from May – at around 15 cm intervals, in rich, moisture-containing soil. Loose leafed lettuce also thrives in pots on the patio or decking.
A wide selection of lettuce varieties is available nowadays. Some are suitable for an early harvest, others for summer cropping and some for in the autumn. There are also varieties that can be grown all year round so always try to choose the right type of lettuce to suit your needs. The varieties are split for spring, summer and autumn according to their propensity to 'bolt'. If for instance you were to sow an early variety in the summer, it would be more than likely to bolt immediately. Not what you want! So choose the correct variety per season! With a cold frame, you can extend your harvesting season by almost 2 months. Loose leafed lettuces are harvestable much earlier as they do not need to form a 'head'. This lettuce is of the genus Lactuca sativa.Use
Loose leafed lettuce is best consumed on the day of picking. It will only last a day in the 'fridge. All lettuces are of course great for making salads – mix them up! The fresher the lettuce the tastier and crispier it is. Try making a lettuce soup – handy when you have an extra big harvest as you can then store it in the freezer.
Water more frequently in dry spells. Keeping the plot weed-free will help the lettuce grow better. Try to prevent lettuce from bolting - the lettuce produces a stalk which eventually forms flowers which then turn to seed. This happens more often in the summer and may vary per lettuce variety. Bolted lettuce is still edible but tastes bitter. Try to harvest before this happens.Harvesting
Loose leafed lettuce doesn't form a tight head and can be picked per leaf just above ground level.