Lettuce is a wonderful, tasty crop that requires only a little space and is very easy to grow even for beginner gardeners. On the other hand, it has a very long growing season and can produce good and continuous harvests.
Lettuce has a great mix of nutrients, such as iron, vitamins A and C, and folate. All of this is nicely packed in small space, so you get a tasty, healthy plant without much trouble. Lettuce is great for many different things, first and foremost: tasty salads. This is why so many gardeners choose to grow lettuce.
For many people, lettuce is the first step toward growing one’s own vegetables and the first plant to grow in their garden. Before you start with lettuce you need to understand its numerous types and varieties so you can choose the best ones for your garden.
Different Lettuce Types
There are many different lettuce types and varieties you can grow in your garden. While people are mainly familiar with Iceberg lettuce, keep in mind that this is only one variety out of many. There are literally hundreds of varieties to choose from, so you can always get the best for your garden.
Before you opt for one of these many varieties, keep in mind that there are six main types of lettuce. This is important to know because you can opt for one particular type and then choose between its varieties.
This is a soft, tasty lettuce with a buttery texture. It has a sweet flavor and is very rich so it is one of the tastiest lettuce types. The leaves form loose heads and range from dark to bright green.
This type is known for tight, dense heads so they resemble cabbage. Varieties in this type include the famous Iceberg lettuce. These lettuce varieties are the mildest. They are famous for their crunchy texture and not so much for the flavor itself. Also, they don’t have as much of a nutritional value as some other types but are nonetheless very popular and great because they can add texture to any salad.
These varieties of lettuce are typically grown as leaves and not tightly formed heads. They are known for delicate texture and mild flavor. These lettuce varieties are famous for being “cut and home again”. It means that they can be harvested multiple times so you get a lot from just a few lettuce plants.
This type is also known as “Cos”. It is a heat-tolerant type that grows in a long head. The heads have sturdy leaves with firm ribs going down the center of the leaf. Giant Cesar variety is a crisp Romaine that is used in famous Cesar salad.
Also known as “Batavian”. This type is an intermediate between the crisphead and loose-leaf types of lettuce.
Chinese varieties are known for their long and pointy leaves that don’t form traditional heads. These lettuce varieties have a bit of a bitter flavor. This is why these lettuce varieties are ideal to stir-fry and not so much as ingredients in salads.
Which Types to Grow?
Which lettuce types to grow in your garden? This will depend on numerous factors, one of them being your personal preferences. However, keep in mind that loose-leaf lettuce varieties are generally easier to grow for beginners.
These varieties are great because you can cut a harvest and they will grow again to produce a new harvest in a few weeks. It makes growing very easy and rewarding. Also, a great thing about these varieties is that they come in many different seed mixes so you can get a good variety of flavors, textures and colors.