Have you heard of Romaine lettuce? Romaine lettuce is a tasty, everyday type of lettuce. If you want to grow Romaine lettuce, you should know a bit about its history. As the name suggests, this lettuce gets in name from the Romans, who probably imported it from either Arabia or Greece.
Romaine type lettuces usually grow as a tall head of thick, ribbed leaves. They’re popularly used in Caesar salads, in Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dishes, as well as other dishes that demand a crisp, slightly sweet leaf.
I can highly regard them as one of the most nutritious types of lettuce. Typically, they consist of vitamins A, B, and C and a wide variety of minerals.
In comparison to other lettuces, Romaines are considerably more tolerant of heat, and often complete their growth cycle in around 70-80 days.
When it comes to spacing, 8-10” apart, and 12-16” between rows are the common measurements. Nutritionally, Romaine lettuce has all of the advantages that come with most green, leafy foods. It’s full of antioxidants, fiber, as well as trace minerals.
What Are the Conditions to Grow Romaine Lettuce?
Generally speaking, lettuce grows perfectly in full sun, although excessive heat can cause the leaves to wilt. However, for an early start, I can start the seeds four weeks before the last frost and transplant them outdoors in mid to late spring.
For those who are looking to grow Romaine lettuce in summer, choose a partially shaded location. Or, perhaps, a place that receives mainly eastward exposure to lower the potentially damaging effects that come with excessive heat on lettuce.
Although Romaine lettuce is tolerant of a variety of soils, it prefers well-drained, loose, cool soil with lots of moisture and pH 6.2 to 6.8. To encourage tasty and tender growth, ensure the location is very rich in organic compost matter. If need be, amend prior to planting.
In early spring, direct seed or transplant as soon as you’re in a position to work the soil. If you want an early start, then prepare the beds in the previous fall by simply working in compost or manure and ensuring to rake smooth to leave behind a fine seedbed.
Since seeds require light to germinate, I sow at a very shallow depth by simply putting a thin layer of growing medium on them.
Sow seed 1 inch apart, 1/8 inch deep, and in rows of 12-18 inches apart. If plants consist of two or three true leaves, I think to 12-inch spacing for any crisphead variety, and 6-10 inches for any other type. Alternatively, I can lightly broadcast seed (especially of any loose leaf variety) in a patch rather than a row.
I sow in 1-inch cells 3-4 weeks prior to transplanting outside. I often harden seedlings by lowering temperature and water for three days before transplanting. Typically, hardened plants can survive 20 F. When it comes to spacing, I crisphead transplants in 12 inches apart, while I space any other variety in rows 12-18 inches apart.
Caring for Romaine Lettuce
After being established, these Romaine plants prefer a lot of moisture and cool weather. With well-fertilized soil, it will translate to faster-growing, and therefore, crisper plants.
I highly recommend that you water regularly while adjusting to your conditions and climate. Also, the plants will require to be protected against the pests that could attack them.
What Are Some of the Pests and Diseases that Can Attack Romaine Lettuce?
Rabbit, as well as other plant-eating rodents, are the major pests for Romaine.
Additionally, slugs and specific insects are prone to attack lettuce over other foods. Since lettuce usually absorbs pesticides readily, you should avoid them if possible. Also, natural remedies like diatomaceous earth, soap, and similar methods can alleviate most issues.
Harvesting Romaine Lettuce
In general, Romaine can be picked if it’s large enough to use. Most gardeners prefer peeling off the outer leaves and allowing the rest of the plant to grow to prolong the harvest time. Make sure to harvest entirely before the first frost comes or the first freezing weather.
There are two ways of doing this: pulling the plant out from the ground or maybe cutting it at its ground level to come up with a head.
I strongly recommend that home gardeners should pull the plant up unless they’d want their roots to regrow into unorganized heads. Although these can be useful cover crops, they’re not ideal.
So, now you know how to grow remain lettuce with ease and make your recipes more nutritious.