Organic Heirloom Little Caesar Lettuce Seeds (20)
The right lettuce for Caesar salads, these tall heads have sweet, crisp leaves and are perfect for small gardens.
Lettuce, one of the oldest food plants known to man, is believed to have originated in India and Central Asia. Herodotus wrote of lettuce being served in ancient Greece, and it was a favorite vegetable in ancient Rome. In fact, the word "lettuce" is derived from the Latin root word "lac" meaning "milk," referring to the milky juice found in mature lettuce stems.
Columbus and other European explorers brought lettuce seeds to the New World. Our early colonists included lettuce in the first gardens planted in American soil. Today, lettuce is a favorite vegetable here and around the world.
One head of this excellent romaine is just right when you’re making a salad for two. This lettuce produces a blend of tasty green outer leaves and golden blanched inner leaves that taste best when picked minutes before your meal. Plant Little Caesar early in spring or in the fall, because it grows best in cool weather.
Spacing: 8-12in (20-30cm)
Exposure: Full Sun - 6+ hours direct sun
To maximize lettuce production, plant lettuce in raised beds. The raised beds warm up faster than the surrounding ground, so you should be able to get an earlier start in the spring and a later crop in the fall.
To make the most of limited garden space, plant lettuce around taller plants like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peppers, and eggplants. The lettuce helps its neighbor by keeping the surrounding soil moist and cool and keeping weeds shaded out. As the taller plants grow, they provide needed shade for the lettuce as the days get warmer. Many varieties of lettuce are also welcome additions to ornamental beds.
• Choose a sunny location (6+ hours of sun) and dig a hole about two times as wide as your pot.
• Remove your plant from the pot by loosening the soil and tipping it out into your hand. Place your plant in the soil about as deep as it was in the pot.
• Refill the space around your plant with soil and press lightly to compact the dirt, keeping your plant firmly in the ground.
• Water immediately to settle the soil, and add more soil as needed, bringing it level to the rest of your garden.
The key to lettuce production is supplying moderate but almost constant water, especially during hot weather. Unless there is regular rainfall, lettuce must be watered deeply at least once a week—more frequently during periods of drought. Use a thin layer of mulch to help the soil retain moisture.
Lettuce is generally disease and pest free, but you should still be vigilant. Watch for lettuce rot which first attacks the lower leaves in contact with the soil and then spreads throughout the plant. The best way to prevent diseases is to rotate crops. Don't plant lettuce in the same bed two years in a row.
Lettuce can be harvested any time after true leaves form. For the best quality, it's better to pick early than late as lettuce allowed to grow too long may be bitter and tough.
To harvest romaine varieties, cut the plant right at the soil line when mature, if you prefer to harvest full heads. You can do the same with butterhead and looseleaf lettuce. To keep the plants in producing longer, harvest only the outer leaves, as needed. Try to harvest in the morning when the leaves are crisp, sweet, and full of moisture.
Since lettuce is primarily water, it does not store well. For the best quality and flavor, use homegrown lettuce soon after harvest. This is particularly true for many of the looseleaf varieties that wilt quickly.