If you’re one of the thousands of Australians who identify as veggie patch enthusiasts, researching the many types of lettuce that you can grow is inevitable.
With its mildly sweet flavour and good levels of crunch, it’s no surprise that this cool and refreshing leafy vegetable has earned its place as a salad bowl staple. Although not exactly regarded for its nutritional value, lettuces are one of the most sought after vegetables in the western world.
While there are many different types of lettuce, they all share the scientific name Lactuca Sativa and tend to do well in similar growing conditions. Regardless if you prefer iceberg or cos, lettuce is traditionally a cool season veggie, which means they prefer to be planted in cooler weather.
However, modern plant breeding means there are now many types of lettuces available across Australia that are suitable for planting at any time of the year – so what are your options?
How To Choose The Right Lettuce For You
As an essential ingredient in any salad, lettuce is easy to grow and is a common staple in any veggie garden or kitchen. Suitable for gardens of all sizes, green thumbs can plant lettuce in pots or garden beds, and can add a new punnet or row of seeds every couple of weeks to ensure a continuous supply of fresh leaves.
For a successful lettuce harvest, all you need to do is provide a partially shaded area, ensure the soil is well drained and loaded with compost, and regularly water your leafy friends. Lettuces tend to do well in cooler climates, which is why they’re often regarded as a winter vegetable. Given the sheer amount of varieties though, what are some of the more popular types of lettuce to grow?
Iceberg – Thanks to its high water content, iceberg lettuce is less nutritionally dense when compared to other darker green types of lettuce. Nevertheless, it’s also one of the most popular varieties found on Australian dinner tables.
Butter Crunch – Also dubbed butter head, butter crunch lettuces are sought after for their “buttery” flavour and velvety texture. Slightly more heat tolerant than others, it has soft, green, leaves wrapped around a loose inner head of blanched, sweet-flavoured, interior leaves.
Cos – Hailing from the island of Cos in the Mediterranean, this upright, elongated lettuce is essential for any classic caesar salad. It has crisp leaves with a strong, yet refreshing flavour and is packed with more nutrients than other types of lettuce.
Mignonette – Similar to butter crunch, this leafy green lettuce variety produces loose hearts of sweet pale-green leaves. They’re suitable for planter boxes and balconies in a sunny location too for easy picking, and make good companions for strawberries, radish and beetroot.
Oakleaf – Oakleaf lettuce is most commonly found to be vibrant green, a deep burgundy-red or a combination of the two. This frilly lettuce variety comes in a tightly packed head with a soft, mild flavour, but they can be bitter if the leaves mature in the sun for too long.
Coral – Available in red and green varieties much like oakleaf, the sturdy, crisp leaves of coral lettuce varieties have tight, frilly curls and a mild flavour – if not slightly bitter. When tossed and dressed, it usually works well with other types of lettuce in a salad.
Rocket – Also known as arugula or rucola, rocket is a member of the lettuce family that doesn’t get quite the same amount of hype as the others. As a leafy vegetable with a peppery, spicy taste, it is most commonly used for salad greens, or cooked like spinach.
Chicory – While this leafy green looks similar to lettuce and is related, they do have a much more bitter flavour. In addition, chicory can also be used for a wide range of therapeutic measures, such as loss of appetite or an upset stomach.
Radicchio – As a sub variety of chicory, radicchio is grown as a leaf vegetable and usually has colourful white-veined red leaves that form a head. Although it looks like a cabbage, radicchio has a bitter and spicy taste which mellows if it is grilled or roasted.
Watercress – Watercress is a leafy green vegetable with a peppery, tangy, slightly bitter flavour, which is used in a number of culinary applications, both raw and cooked, but most commonly as a lettuce green thanks to the number of antioxidants found in the plant.
When planting any vegetables – including lettuces – it’s important to protect them against any unwanted pests or diseases. However, these types of plants often end up on your dinner plate, so avoiding chemical based agents is also just as crucial.
Ultimately, the type of products that you bring into your home can have enormous ramifications, particularly if you share the space with children or pets. As such, adopting naturally derived products instead of chemical based ones is always a good idea to ensure peace of mind – but where do you find them?
Introducing A Safer Way To Spray
Bioweed is an organic, non selective weed killer that works fast on contact with the weed, in order to rapidly desiccate and burn even the most stubborn of plants. It can be used anywhere around the house including garden beds, veggie patches, paths and driveways, and is safe to use around children, animals and even native wildlife.
The best part? Bioweed is the brainchild of well established agricultural leaders Greenpro, and is backed by over twenty years of research and development. Owned and manufactured in Australia, the primary ingredient of Bioweed is actually sustainably sourced pine oil, and is even approved by NASAA, ACO and APVMA for use around organic farms and food production.
If you’re on the hunt for a pet friendly weed killer, or simply want to know more about eliminating weeds safely – check out other tips and tricks in our online advice forum, or contact us for any further queries.