I have a part-shady spot that I'd like to devote to lettuces this summer and fall. (Yeah, I'm a little late getting started, but we had frost advisories a couple weeks ago, so my veg patch is definitely behind schedule.)
I'd like recommendations for varieties that:
1. taste great;
2. look great; and
3. are disease resistant
And either slow-bolting or cold-hardy.
We aren't picky, but I'm not sure crisp icebergs can survive our summer heat. We love romaines and any/all good loose leaf and batavians. I have a very soft spot for butterheads, because my grandmother always favored them and served them with a buttermilk dressing.
I've had moderate success with 'Red Sails' (in fact, it self-seeded among my strawberries and is finally big enough to start clipping some leaves), and so-so luck with the heirlooms (Black-seeded Simpson, Drunken Woman, Deer's Tongue, etc.)
So...suggestions please; anything from heirloom to brand-new. I'd like to get several types going ASAP, and succession plant until Iate fall, then switch to spinach and see how long we can go into the cold months.
Terry, I think you should probably wait until fall unless you are just experimenting for fun. My lettuce is already bolted and gone. Iceberg bolted first as soon as the temp crept about 75 for a couple of days (never mind the cold ones!) Then the leaf lettuces got bitter.
The romaine held out the longest with good taste to the end. I got it in a seed swap so I don't know the variety, but it was probably "Green Towers."
Getting decent lettuce was probably the only good thing about this crazy spring!
Thanks Nicole, it is kind of "just for fun" and to fill the space so weeds don't flourish. I'm willing to risk a few seeds since our spring weather was so wonky, who knows? We might have a less-than-scorching summer. Then again...it is the midsouth :-) But nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'd like to get in an order or snag some locally while there is still a decent selection to be had.
terry, I say go for it! I have been contradicting mother nature all my gardening life(over 50 years)- sometime I win, sometime I lose, but there is no better satisfaction than to beat the odds! Just yesterday I took 8 packages of lettuce seeds, all leftovers, opened them up, put them in a baggie and shook- then sowed them out in some empty spaces in my strawberry pyramid. It will be such fun to see what comes up- a saled mix already made! This time of year you will have to be on alert for aphids & spider mites as well as worms-yuk!
Off topic- How about the finale of Dancing With The Stars-I loved it- !!!
I grew my first lettuce this year with great success, I realized we don't eat much lettuce, my neighbors don't eat much lettuce( on either side), my grown Kids don't eat much lettuce. Needless to say next year I will not plant nearly as much lettuce. I noticed this post because I just pulled up my first crop today, it was starting to bolt so into the compost pile it went, I do still have a second crop, but it is getting very tall and it will soon be done even before we start eating on it. I grew a mixture of seeds from Burpee I bought at Lowe's. It had about four different types of leaf lettuce including some red type. They all did well, I personally could not tell one from the other when mixed in a salad.
I'd not waste space on lettuce planted now. Mine was planted in March and is already bolting with the hot, then cool days but never headed or made much salad greens. I grew around twenty types and none did well. In the past my favorites have been the small headed buttercrunches. Black Seeded Simpson, Oakleaf and a number of the reds, especially Rouge de Grenoble or Red Sails, do well if you don't mind that the leaves on all those varieties are thin and don't hold well in storage. I skip lettuce in the fall other than to grow for seed. The plants can survive with adequate attention but it is too dry to produce succulent leaves.
Terry, I'm east of you, north of Chattanooga, and my lettuces are 2' tall -- unreal growing season. I planted out April 1st and have had a huge salad every day since then. Any sandwhich I've had for 2 months has had a big inch of lettuce on it as well. This cool weather has been GREAT for salad greens. My rainbow Swiss Chard and Spinach are also nearly that tall. The only thing that bolted on me was the Arugula, which was a first and last for me, didn't care for it.
Black Seeded Simpson
Black Seeded Simpson Elite
Romaine Paris White
They were getting munched on early spring, flea beetles I think. But nothing since one light dusting of DE.
I due put black greenhouse mesh over bent pvc pipe any time the temps are going to be near 80. You can get that as dog kennel shade mesh, too.
So if I were starting now, and just for fun, I'd go buy what seeds I could find, selection is getting skimpy, and try them. Keep records and have fun.