Tried and Trusted: Lettuce
|The current potted salad leaf selection available at the back door|
So it's been great to see your successes mentioned on Salad Days or tweeted to #saladchat because I'm definitely seeing a number of tried and trusted varieties being mentioned again and again. I thought I'd compile a couple of posts with your recommendations. It's especially pleasing to do so as I can at last acknowledge some of the great contributions I've received via #saladchat.
Lettuce forms the basis of many salads, so today's post is confined to their varieties. I'm sure there's something new for everyone to try. NB The Constant Gardener has put together a great guide to the types of lettuce available which is a useful read. I'll cover recommendations for other types of leaves and herbs in a future post.
Top Bloggers and Tweeters Recommend:
- Australian Yellowleaf - 'very pretty, slow to bolt, easy to grow and the kids love growing them coz they get absolutely huge'
- Balloon - 'We have grown a brilliant lettuce this year called Balloon, which is a good name for it!'
- Bronze Arrow - a Heritage Seed Library variety
- Dazzle - like a Little Gem, but with red tipped leaves
- Freckles - 'a speckly Cos style lettuce and I love it because being a Cos the leaves are really versatile and being spotty its fun to look at.'
- Green Salad Bowl - 'my favourite lettuce at the moment... ...I do have occasional germination issues but the flavour, ease of harvest and the eventual growth rate all make it a winner for me'
- Iceberg - 'I love their crunch and sweetness.' and 'it may be a bit passe these days but its hard to find anything else with that wonderful crunch and wrapped around a spring roll with a sprig of mint and a chilli dipping sauce there is truly nothing better.'
- Little Gem - a smaller, sweeter tasting variety with plenty of crispness
- Lobjoits Cos - large, deep green crisp leaves
- Lollo Bionda - crisp frilly leaves
- Lollo Rosso - crisp red frilly leaves
- Marvel of Four Seasons - aka Merveille des Quatre Saisons, Red Riding Hood, or Besson Rouge: a French heritage variety (pre-1885) available commercially
- Oakleaf - 'any variety, great to pick leaves off as you need them, the variety of colours makes them attractive to grow in a group and they taste great in a salad.'
- Pinokkio - a crisp and sweet cos type
- Red Salad Bowl - 'I have been picking the leaves for weeks now, it just seems to keep on growing and it looks so pretty.'
- Relic - a red 'deer's tongue' heritage variety available commercially
- Rubens - quick growing and slow to bolt
- Tan Tan - 'is a little gem type from Unwins. It's resisted the slugs very well.'
- Valdor - one for the winter
- Winter Density - another hardy variety for winter salads
- Add your recommendation(s) in the Comments below
Supplier, sowing, growing and tasting notes to follow when I've put together a factsheet :)
With many thanks to the following contributors (covering growing in the UK, Holland and Australia):
- Country Gate Gardens
- Edible Things
- Gwenfar's Lottie
- Margaret's Patch
- Out of My Shed
- Suburban Tomato
- The Constant Gardener
- Zoe Lynch
Update: The following recommendations were made in the Comments (hurray - we now have a contributor from the USA):
- Can Can - 'fantastic non bitter taste, and crops for ages, - also although non slug resistant, they only go for the outer leaves, so you can still pick layer after layer of clean hole free leaves' (via @Plantpassion)
- Black Seeded Simpson - 'it's been great for me and a wonderful flavour (it's an heirloom variety, go figure)' and 'I grew 'Black Seeded Simpson' in the Spring, and it was wonderful! I plan to grow it again for my Fall garden' (via The Constant Gardener and Lea's Menagerie)