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LETTUCE FLAVORS?

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LETTUCE FLAVORS?

Post  Lemonie on 6/22/2011, 1:05 pm

This is my first year of SFG (and any gardening) and I went with the tried and true Black seeded Simpson lettuce. Like a kid in a candy shop- I went out to the garden and picked my first fresh salad....and was very disappointed in the flavor. No My lettuce was pretty bitter and even the dressing didn't make it tollerable. I know our weather has been a little crazy- but my soil is perfect and it was planted in a wicking bed w/ partial shade. Is this a normal flavor for this lettuce? I was hoping it would be sweet and tender since it's the young leaves. I'm thinking I just need to pull it all up and try something else.

What is your favorite lettuce to grow in your SFG and how would you describe the flavor?
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Lettuce Flavors?

Post  GloriaG on 6/22/2011, 1:18 pm

Hi Lemonie,

Glad to hear you've got your garden started.

The flavor of lettuce is strongly affected by the temperature. In hot weather it will turn very bitter. (BTW - you will also find this with cucumbers.) Because our summers get so hot here near Dallas, I plant a spring crop of lettuce, eat it all, then wait until fall to plant again when the weather is a little cooler. I can grow lettuce almost all winter but none at all in the 100º summer weather we have.
Good luck!
Gloria

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Re: LETTUCE FLAVORS?

Post  westie42 on 6/22/2011, 1:23 pm

If it gets too mature it will be milky where cut and that implies bitter tasting lettuce. Simpson Elite has become popular as is red sails. Try this thread for more lettuce ideas. http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t6503-types-of-lettuce . Google within the forum for more lettuce threads mite help you get more familiar with varieties used by other SFGers.

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Re: LETTUCE FLAVORS?

Post  ModernDayBetty on 6/22/2011, 1:45 pm

I'm one of those people who only likes nice crisp iceberg lettuce. I got a free packet of Romain and although I don't like it from the store I decided to try it anyway. I found that I really like the flavor of it when it's really young about 2 inches. Kind of tastes like peas. As it's matured and gotten larger I don't like it as much. So I would suggest retrying the lettuce if you still have seed right before fall, I think it's 8 weeks before your first frost. Taste it young.
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Re: LETTUCE FLAVORS?

Post  pattipan on 6/22/2011, 2:18 pm

Lettuce "flavor" or bitterness is affected by the heat..and some lettuces are more heat tolerant than others. If you pick your lettuce and a milky-like sap comes out of the stem, that means it will be bitter. The hotter the weather, the more milky sap will rise into leaves. I see that you're in Kentucky, so my guess is your weather has been hot like it has been here in WV.

I have two non-bitter lettuces that are a standard now in my SFG. Although I have had 10 or more different kinds growing at any one time. I like a variety of color, crunch and flavors. There is always a new one to try too!

Green Ice is very mild and has slightly blistered leaves which when washed/chilled are nice and crisp. I grow it like leaf lettuce, although technically it's a head lettuce.

Tom Thumb is a mini butterhead lettuce that I tried this year - I love it! One little head will fit on a sandwich -- maybe two sandwiches if you share. It is SUPER MILD and grows super fast. Here are 3 heads on a paper towel. It's small enough to stick in the corners of squares with broccoli...or some other veggie that might shade it a little.



Suggestion for future: Start lettuces early in the spring, and do successive plantings to extend the harvest. When the packet says as early as the soil can be worked, well that's early March for us, because Mel's Mix doesn't need to be "worked."

If you do get a late start, make some hoops and cover with shade cloth. Or better yet, try growing in pots and planters, so you can set them in the semi-shade when the weather turns really hot.

pattipan
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Re: LETTUCE FLAVORS?

Post  Mamachibi on 6/22/2011, 8:10 pm

Hey, Kentucky. Here in TN I'm growing Jericho lettuce, bred for the Middle Eastern desert. It grows great guns, even in heat, and I haven't had one get bitter on me yet.
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Re: LETTUCE FLAVORS?

Post  middlemamma on 6/23/2011, 12:59 am

I was so excited to eat Tom Thumb this year. Sad I went to harvest it and it was infested with slugs...every fold, every leave had them in between. I threw it all out...no amount of washing would have made me be able to eat it. I was really sad. I will try again here soon.

Thank you for the milky white substance tip...I had no idea. Apparently I harvested all my lettuce too late! Excellent to know!
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Re: LETTUCE FLAVORS?

Post  walshevak on 6/23/2011, 9:43 am

@Mamachibi wrote:Hey, Kentucky. Here in TN I'm growing Jericho lettuce, bred for the Middle Eastern desert. It grows great guns, even in heat, and I haven't had one get bitter on me yet.

Where did you get the Jericho seed. I want to send it to my Philippine friends and see if it will grow in their heat.

Kay

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Re: LETTUCE FLAVORS?

Post  Ha-v-v on 6/23/2011, 10:35 am

I found this link of Jericho Lettuce reviews Kay, I was searching for myself once I read Mamachibi's post. I so want lettuce in the summer here. I will be ordering seeds as soon as the funds arrive Smile Developed in Israel for their weather and irrigation.

http://www.genesisseeds.com/organicseed/vegetables/veglettuce_jericoreviews.htm

The reviews were written by seed companies, farmers etc. I cant wait to try it Smile
Thanks for sharing it Mamachibi. Smile
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Re: LETTUCE FLAVORS?

Post  pattipan on 6/23/2011, 10:58 am

Jericho Lettuce sources:

http://www.highmowingseeds.com/
http://www.territorialseed.com/
http://www.sustainableseedco.com/
http://www.genesisseeds.com/
http://www.southernexposure.com/

I've already ordered some too!
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Re: LETTUCE FLAVORS?

Post  Mamachibi on 6/23/2011, 12:52 pm

I get mine from Southern Exposure - link above.
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Re: LETTUCE FLAVORS?

Post  Lemonie on 6/23/2011, 1:50 pm

Thanks everyone! I'll have to look into some of these other options and will maybe try my simpson again in the fall (small crop) just to see. I planted late- but it was mild temp and still young when I started harvesting... no milky whiteness. I know I love the baby romains...might try some of those too. I've got the lettuce mingled in with some other crops that provide quite a bit of shade- but maybe it wasn't enough?

Guess it's time to....order some more seeds. Smile (And plan expansions for next year)
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Re: LETTUCE FLAVORS?

Post  Goosegirl on 6/23/2011, 2:48 pm

I just ordered the Jericho from Territorial, along with the Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed lettuce!

GG


Last edited by Goosegirl on 6/23/2011, 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : shpellink!)
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