I am married to the former Mr Buttercrunch Lettuce Man. For years he has favoured Buttercrunch as the most reliable lettuce for the home garden because it grows so well and can be harvested leaf by leaf over an extended period. This year he has tried a different product from Franchi Seeds who are Italian so it has the name of Misticanza di Lattughe (or just plain lettuce to most of us). It is a great mix of different lettuces of cut and come again varieties which mature at different rates – and it includes Buttercrunch. He is most impressed by the range and performance and his lettuce patch has been yielding an abundance of mixed leaves from the early thinnings (micro greens) through to mature plants. He is now a convert to this particular product which is distributed in NZ through www.italianseedspronto.co.nz and he is sowing in succession at about three weekly intervals.
Lettuces like friable soil with plenty of nitrogen to help them make all that leafy growth. This means they are an excellent crop to follow on from a heavily fertilised crop like corn. They also need plenty of water – a bitter taste is often due to drought. Most take around 60 days to mature. When first planted, we keep a close eye out for slugs and also for cutworm which can work its way along the row, eating the roots off. Diazinon prills are used against cutworm if necessary. We don’t worry about slugs later on which means that the leaves need thorough washing before use. In high summer, lettuces tend to bolt to seed rather than making leafy growth but you can keep sowing and cut them as young plants.
First published in the Waikato Times and reproduced here with their permission.