Lettuce - Lactuca

Lettuce - Lactuca

The lettuce

A precious vegetable for its various beneficial qualities, lettuce is very sensitive to very cold temperatures, as well as to excessively dry heat. In fact, in the face of particularly hot or dry climates, it is very likely that the plant will mount seed earlier than it should. Thus the climate favored for an adequate development of lettuce occurs in the presence of temperate and mild climates. However, it is easy to grow the plant in different climates due to its many varieties that are well suited to different situations. Lettuce belongs to the Composite family, and is classified under the name of lactuva sativa. The leaves of the plant are consumed, fresh and raw in the composition of salads, very rarely cooked. It has a superficial root system and a large group of rounded leaves wider outside the plant and gradually narrower towards the heart. There are different types of lettuce, depending on the sowing periods: we move from summer lettuce to spring and winter lettuce. Lettuce is therefore a particularly loved and cultivated plant, both in the vegetable garden and in a small space of a home garden.


Ground

Lettuce prefers a neutral soil, sufficiently equipped with organic substance and well drained. However, the plant can grow in different types of soil, managing to tolerate quite easily even a high presence of limestone. As far as the earliest varieties of lettuce are concerned, a soil very rich in humus is highly recommended.

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Fertilization

For a good growth of the plant it is recommended to use 3 quintals of manure or mature compost every 100 square meters of field, to be distributed immediately, at the time of the first tillage. It must also be taken into account that lettuce feeds in abundance of potassium, and it is therefore advisable to enrich the soil with a good amount of wood ash.


Associations and turnover

Lettuce combines very well with other plants such as cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, onions, beans. It is advisable to wait at least two years between a lettuce cultivation and another in the same soil.


Cultivation

To be carried out in the seedbed or in the open field. In the first, the use of 1 gram or a little more of seeds per square meter will be sufficient. While for the second case, it will be necessary to use at least 3 seeds for each postarella placed at about 30 cm of distance between the different rows and always at 30 cm in the same row, or, alternatively, in the special grooves spaced about 40 cm apart, placing a dozen seeds. The seed is very small and will be placed almost on the surface at a depth of one centimeter but also a little less. The next germination will take place after about ten days. The following transplant will be carried out after just over a month, when the small plants will have more than 5 centimeters in height and at least 4 developed leaves. As for winter lettuces, the collar will have to be buried to avoid frost damage. On the other hand, the summer, spring and autumn lettuces, far from the dangers of freezing, will go to the final planting keeping the collar at a centimeter on the surface on the ground.


Irrigation

An important tip is to carry out abundant watering, taking care not to wet the leaves, which otherwise could rot. You can operate with a special watering can by hand, working between the rows of plants, or with a jet without pressure, to water only the soil. It is also advisable, in case of excessive exposure to the sun of lettuces in the warmer seasons, to intervene in any way with a slight shade.


Collection

Climbing is carried out throughout the year. Every 100 square meters we arrive at a production of about 2 quintals of cut lettuce and 3 quintals of romaine and cap lettuce.


Variety

These just mentioned are also the most common varieties of lettuce. In fact, we mainly distinguish between: lettuce, characterized by a globular head with leaves that surround the structure limited by serrated edges. Romaine lettuce, with a more elongated head, more erect leaves and larger ribs and often darker green in color. Cutting lettuce, which has leaves of variable shape and without a head like the others.


Lettuces: Parasites

We recall among the most dangerous parasites for lettuce aphids, which cause damage to leaves and flowers and whose presence is facilitated by an excess of nitrogen from fertilizations. Once the attack has taken place, it is possible to intervene using pyrethrum or wood ash. Another danger for the plant is represented by the mosaic that occurs causing yellow pustules on the leaves that must be detached and then eliminated. An additional problem is often caused by downy mildew which cause whitish spots on the leaves. In the event of an infection of this type, it is necessary to remove the affected plants and eliminate them, subsequently intervening with a special cupric product.


robustness: more or less rustic depending on the variety

exposure: Sun

Soil type: medium, rich and draining

Soil acidity: a little acid for base

Soil moisture: normal

use: vegetable garden, vegetable leaf, vegetable salad, sometimes escaped gardens in the moor, side of the road

Planting, in pots: spring

Multiplication method: map

Diseases and pests: attenuation, bacterial retardation, botrytis, snails, aphids

Lactuca sativa, cultivated lettuce, is one of our most popular green salads, belongs to the Asteraceae family. Lettuce is probably of the wild species Lactuca scariolaof Eurasian origin, it is declined in a multitude of varieties according to the regions in which it was cultivated, and this during thousands of years of culture. Our lettuce has become an essential food, they exist in green, red, yellow, white, curly, folded, bitter, sweet, more or less crunchy.

Tasting freshly picked lettuce from his garden is irreplaceable. Although the success of your lettuce is not always easy, because the dangers can be many to ruin this culture, their cycle is fast and their culture is not so boring.

By multiplying the waves of planting and staggering the varieties according to the seasons, even the novice gardener will end up with beautiful and delicious lettuce. With different varieties, it is almost possible to have fresh salad all year round.


Canasta lettuce grown in the home and garden

We are used to eating lettuce almost all year round. A vegetable known since the time of the Romans who cultivated it. Lettuce is a vegetable that can be grown easily and can also be a good habit for those who can grow in pots on the balcony.

The lettuce that we find in the supermarket may have traveled thousands of miles and then being grown intensively it does not take on a lively taste like the one you would grow at home or in your small vegetable garden.

For this reason and with small precautions, this product cannot be missing in our garden.

Lettuce, scientific name Lactuca sativa, is a plant belonging to the Compositae family. It is commonly known as "salad", but in reality it is more correct to call it lettuce, as the salad is more than anything else the preparation that is made of this vegetable.

Nutritional values ​​and properties
Lettuce is a vegetable composed of 95% water (the properties of the salad can be found here), so it is an absolutely inevitable product in low-calorie diets. This is because in addition to being low in kcal (only 15 per 100 gr.) It is rich in minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron and vitamins A, B, C, E.
These characteristics give it excellent diuretic and antioxidant properties.
Lettuce is indicated in the diet of those suffering from diabetes as it helps regulate the blood sugar level. It can also be used by people with water retention, or to help expel kidney stones.

Canasta lettuce has a wider and more compact head than Roman lettuce. It also has a clear central heart that fills up, wrapped in the fleshy outer leaves. Still compared to romaine lettuce, canasta develops in width rather than in length.

The flavor of canasta is stronger than its Roman cousin, and is therefore to be preferred in the preparation of mixed salads.
The color of the leaves tends to red going outwards, although this depends on the type of canasta lettuce.

Canasta sowing period:

Compared to other lettuces, canasta suffers less from the heat and, therefore, its production can be pushed up to the hot months preceding the summer. Having said that, we can opt for two very different solutions.

The first is to buy the plants already developed at a nursery. In this case the seedlings are already about twenty or thirty days old and can be placed in the ground or in the pot. They will be ready for harvest between thirty and forty-five days following the transplant.

A very different thing that I highly recommend is sowing. In fact, when you sow in a large tank or in a small portion of your garden you have the possibility to harvest and transplant your vegetables in time to have a wider coverage. What does it mean? Sowing thousands of seeds will produce hundreds of seedlings. Grow them in the seedbed of your choice. When they are twenty or thirty days old, you can take a few and transplant them in rows or in pots.

If it is too much you can also pick it up and eat it like this… too good and keep… seeing is believing. After about ten or fifteen days you can repeat the operation and put other plants on the ground and eat the rest. Those earths will mature at different times and you will have more time to consume them ...

The ideal soil for your lettuce to grow should be loose and humus-rich. It is important not to cause water stagnation. To do this, just prepare and work the soil giving a hill shape and place the lettuce in the highest point. In this way the excess water will drop down, leaving the plant without stagnation.

The soil must be rich in nitrogen. Of course, you can use chemistry or use natural solutions such as mature manure or bagged manure. The presence of nitrogen is important for plant growth right from sowing.

In the winter period and in the presence of high humidity and rains, we can also avoid watering the canasta lettuce plants. The situation is different when temperatures rise and the sun makes itself felt. In this case, having very superficial roots, frequent drip irrigation is required. Not a lot of water but very often in order to guarantee the right water supply to the plant. Too much water creates problems with rot of the collar and leaves in contact with the ground.

For the distances it is enough to keep at least 25 cm between the rows and twenty between the plants. Mulching or manual weeding is important, especially when the plants are young and are more afraid of weeds and weeds. When they get big enough, even the grass has a hard time growing under the lettuces

Mulching can be done with straw or sheet. In the latter case, the sheet can be used many times and guarantees a soil that is always moist and free, producing significant water savings.

Biological defense against parasites

Canasta lettuce is very tasty for snails who could devour it in a few days. To keep them away you can use one of the many systems that you will find easily on the net. For the rest, you can protect your lettuces by spraying macerated nettle (which also acts as a fertilizer), garlic or tomato stems used as a preventive measure.


How and when to sow lettuce

Depending on the climatic conditions and the chosen cultivation technique, the sowing of lettuces can be carried out in seedbeds or directly in the open field.

For sowing in the open field, on the other hand, 5-7 g of seed are needed every 10 m2 of surface.

If you choose the seedbed, you need approximately 1-1.5 g of seeds / m2, you need 30 m2 of seedbed for every 10 m2 of cultivation.

Sowing in the open field can be carried out in postarelle of 3-5 seeds (placed at a distance of 30 cm between the rows and 25-30 cm on the row) or in furrows about 30-40 cm away by placing no more than 12 seeds in the furrow. every 30 cm.

As soon as the seedlings emit the fourth-fifth leaf, thinning is carried out to 25-30 cm.

Due to its small size, the seed must be placed very superficially, no more than 0.5-1cm deep. The germination faculty has a duration of about 3-5 years, while for the germination and the release of the seedling it takes 5-10 days.


How and when to plant (or transplant) lettuce

The transplant is carried out after about 30-40 days from sowing, when the seedlings have reached 5-7 cm in height and have at least 4-6 well developed leaves. The implant distance is 30-40 cm between the rows and 25-30 cm on the row.

Spring, summer and autumn lettuces must be planted leaving the collar about 1 cm above the ground level, while in the winter varieties the collar is normally buried to prevent the alternation of freezing / thawing bare the seedlings.


Sowing and buying seedlings

As with almost all horticultural crops, before starting a crop one wonders whether to buy the seedlings or to produce them independently starting from seed.

It is a personal choice. However, it must be emphasized that generally the trays on sale at nurseries contain no less than nine elements that will almost certainly be ready for consumption at the same time.

In this way there is a risk, for a family of normal size, of having an enormous waste, as well as a waste of land and work.

To always have salads at the right stage of development available, it is ideal to arrange your own with a graded sowing. It is possible to proceed weekly by sowing to obtain 4-5 seedlings (according to our needs). Once the process has started, we will always have elements available to replace those just picked up.

Planting in a greenhouse

From October to early March

Planting in the open field

From the end of March to the middle of October

Open field harvest

From April to early November


How to plant magenta lettuce seeds

Magenta lettuce seeds take 60 days to ripen from the day they are planted. Plant them in a loose and fertile soil that receives a little sunlight.

If you grow Magenta lettuce with the intention of harvesting the young leaves, you can plant it in a continuous row. If you want your seeds to ripen and be full of heads, plant them 8-12 cm (20-30 cm) away from each other.

Secondly, magenta lettuce is not difficult to care for, as it only requires regular watering. Sow every three weeks if you want a continuous harvest.

For best results, harvest the magenta plants in the morning. Immediately move to a cool place until you are ready to eat the lettuce.


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