Friday, February 24, 2012

Veggie Ventures: Lettuce

Welcome to the Veggie Ventures series, where we'll take a glimpse
at veggies my husband and I want to grow but have never really eaten!

This is the last post of the Veggie Ventures series, as we'll soon be getting our spring garden up and going.  I suppose "Lettuce" as a Veggie Ventures topic is a bit misleading, since we have actually eaten lettuce before.  They're included here because we grew some varieties in our fall/winter garden that we're not used to eating (Iceberg and Romaine are as far as we usually go for our salads!).  Here are some pictures of the four varieties of lettuce we planted in October (pictures taken in January--we're lucky enough to have mild enough winters to grow veggies):

You wouldn't believe how excited I was to see the Butter Beauty actually forming little heads like it was supposed to!  We harvested one head and gave it to my grandmother, who was equally as excited.


Grand Rapids is a loose leaf lettuce--the benefit of which is you can continually harvest the leaves over the growing season.  We enjoyed this lettuce for quite a while, though the flavor is more pronounced (bitter vs. mild) as the plant ages.  We also had an unexpected result with this lettuce: instead of growing bigger and spreading out horizontally as the months passed, it started growing upwards.  By mid-February we had a 2 1/2 foot Tower of Lettuce.  No kidding!  I only wish we had snapped a photo before it got hacked down in preparation for spring planting.

I really can't explain what happened with our Iceberg Lettuce.  For some inexplicable reason it never formed heads.  We still harvested and ate the loose leaves, of course, but it left us scratching our heads for an explanation.  Any tips from you veteran gardeners out there?

This lettuce was advertised as a romaine-type lettuce, but as you can clearly see from the photo above, it formed little heads.  Not that we were complaining of course, since the Iceberg failed in that department.  We enjoyed the Little Gem Lettuce but did not find that it was very Romaine-y.

Veggie Verdict:
Yes!  We WILL be growing lettuce again in our garden.  It is a cooler weather crop, so we'll have to plant some NOW in order to get a good harvest in before the heat of a Louisiana summer sets in.  The Grand Rapids Lettuce was our best performer, so that variety definitely wins a spot in the spring garden.

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