One of the first vegetables of spring, lettuce is a welcome sight after months of roots and stews. A fresh spring salad is one of the early joys of the garden. From the delicate and frilly loose leaf lettuces to the crisp and delicate butterheads to the more firm and crisp romaines, all in shades of greens and reds, there’s a lettuce for everyone. Or, like me, you love them all, and a blend of a variety of lettuces is the best choice.
Lettuce tends to bolt and become bitter in the heat of summer, but it thrives in the cool temperatures of fall. I love planting a variety of lettuces in the spring, usually several of the mixes or blends. Beginning with the loose leaf lettuces and then moving on to the romaines, we harvest lettuce into June. In the early summer I like to plant baby lettuce in a cooler, more shady part of the garden, and harvest them young so that they don’t have a chance to get bitter or bolt. In the late summer I like to plant some of the more cold hardy lettuces like Winter Density, Freckles and Marvel of Four Seasons to enjoy throughout the fall and even after it frosts. Just don’t touch the leaves when they are frozen, which will cause them to turn to mush. Wait for them to thaw, and they’ll be great until snow covers them.