Little Gem Lettuce
Seed Count: Approx. 500 seeds
Days to Maturity: 50 Days
Description: Little Gem lettuce, is a mini, heat tolerant, old English variety perfect for salads, and sandwiches. It produces a tasty small head of green leaves, and a tender blanched heart that has a succulently sweet, and slightly nutty flavor. This variety is perfect to use anywhere where hearts of romaine are called for. It's not entirely clear whether this variety is a Romaine or butterhead, and it is the topic of many debates, since it has the texture and look of a romaine, but the delicious flavor of a butterhead. However, it's delicious regardless, so who cares lol. This compact variety grows in a firm upright habit, spanning about 4-6 inches tall and wide making it great for small spaces and tower gardens.
How To Grow
Sowing: Lettuces grows well in cool weather, so the first crop can be direct sown when the soil temperature reaches at least 35 degrees. Direct sow the seed in rich soil and full sun, spreading them as thinly as possible, about 6.5 inches apart. Succession crops can be grown for fresh lettuce all season in areas with cool summers or warm winters; this is accomplished by planting a new crop every 2 weeks.
Growing: Since lettuce has very shallow roots, it needs adequate moisture in order to stay tender and sweet, so keep the soil evenly moist. Applying mulch helps conserve moisture and control weeds. For companion planting benefits, grow lettuce with onions, cucumbers, or carrots. The crisper the lettuce head, the less heat tolerant they will be. However, lettuces can tolerate cold, but should be protected from the wind. If leaves begin to wilt, plants need more water. Hand weed as necessary, but be careful with their shallow roots.
Harvesting: Lettuce retains its crisp sweetness when harvested early in the morning. Most types of lettuce will produce a second or even third crop after being cut, if the weather stays cool. Leaves can be gathered all season until the main stem of the plant starts to grow, at which time the leaves will grow bitter. To harvest the entire plant, cut it right above the surface of the soil. Lettuce will bolt when weather is too hot. To avoid selecting negative traits, gather seed from the plants that are slow to bolt. After the stalk flowers and produces pods, the pods will turn light brown and split open; in order to prevent seed loss, shake the head of the stalk into a bag every day. Store for up to 3 years.