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Red Oakleaf lettuce

Lactuca sativa 'Oak Leaf Red'

Lettuce (Eng.), Slaai (Afr.)

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Oakleaf lettuce is cool weather loose-leaf crop, so make sure they are not exposed to too much sun or very hot weather. The flavour of freshly picked lettuce from the garden beats bought lettuces any day. Lettuce plants also serve as a wonderful ornamental in gardens and use the different textures and colors to make patterns in your vegetable patch!

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Summer
Fruiting time
Summer

Harvesting

Harvest as soon as the leaves are large enough to use. Don't wait too long, as the lettuce eventually develops a bitter flavor and woody texture. Harvest older leaves first, using clean kitchen shears to cut the individual leaves from the stem or whole plants to ground level. Harvest about 30 - 45 days after sowing. Any heat or dry stress will lead to bitterness!

Propagation

Seed
Sow directly in beds very shallowly and space rows 20 to 30 cm apart. Germination takes 7-14 days. Sow during spring and summer.

Special features

Crop rotation
Rotate crop every two years. Alternative with cabbage family and root crops or legumes.
Pot plant
Can be planted in a container, provided it is large enough. Minimum of 30 cm wide will be sufficient.

Geography

Origin
France
Natural climate
Cool to temperate

Environment

Light
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Edible
This variety is commonly used in salads and sandwiches.
Medicinal
Rich in vitamins A, B and C, minerals like Magnesium and Potassium and almost as much Calcium as milk!

Personality

Family
Asteraceae
Flower colour
Yellow
Scent
None

Problems

Slugs and snails chew smooth-edged holes in outer leaves. Collect them with a gloved hand during drizzly weather, evenings or trap them in pit traps baited with beer. You also can spray cold coffee on slug-infested plants to stop feeding. Birds love the red varieties too. Remove leaves touching the soil to prevent rot spreading.

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