Tango Leaf Lettuce
Seed Count: Approx. 500 seeds
Days to Maturity: 28-45
Description: Tango leaf lettuce is one of my favorite lettuce varieties and for good reason, because it has a texture like no other. Hundreds of crinkles, on each leaf, is why these three dimensional leaves are capable of adding amazing texture to salad mixes. It grows tight, upright rosettes, of frilly, perfectly green leaves. It's also a great cut and come again lettuce. Tango leaf is very tender and rich in vitamins. This variety looks a lot like endive, but has a milder tangy taste. I think it's best in its baby leaf form. Baby leaves are ready in 28 days; mature leaves are ready in 40 days. Tango leaf is cold hardy and can overwinter well without any protection. They say this lettuce isn't super heat tolerant, but I've had it out last a lot of other lettuce varieties in my garden that bolted as soon as the heat rolled in. It grows great in full sun or partial shade, also makes for a great container plant. It's one of my favorite varieties to include in my tower garden. Tango leaf is a must try variety, and definitely a staple in my salad garden.
How To Grow
Sowing: Lettuce 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 in rows 1-2' apart. When the seedlings begin to grow, thin them to 10-12" 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 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. 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.