Let Us Grow Lettuce Well

By National Gardening Association Editors

Nothing is better at the end of a hot summer day than keeping the stove turned off and tossing together a fresh salad for dinner. But nothing is more frustrating than heading out to the garden to pick the lettuce for that salad and finding it has all bolted in the heat.

That's why research done at Colorado State University on the bolt resistance of various lettuce varieties will be of interest to many home gardeners, not just those who grow lettuce commercially in the heat of the High Plains. Researchers assessed the bolt resistance of 50 different cultivars of six types of lettuces, along with their susceptibility to tip burn and other problems.

'Concept' and 'Envy' were green leaf types that held well. 'New Fire' and 'Red Salad Bowl' were among the red leaf varieties that led the pack. 'Green Forest' green romaine, 'Rouge d'hiver' red romaine and 'Lochness' butter lettuce all performed well, while Batavian type lettuces in general stood out as most resistant to bolting.

And here's interesting note from the June 2010 issue of The Avant Gardener newsletter. Research done by the USDA shows that the early bird gets not only the worm, but the best-tasting lettuce. Lettuce picked at 7 a.m. had almost twice the sugars as that harvested at 2 p.m. So get out of bed and get that lettuce!

To read the entire study, go to: Lettuce Bolting Resistance Project.

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