Lettuce Romaine, Red Leaf

 Romaine Lettuce, Red Leaf

Heirloom. Organic. Red romaine lettuce has long crunchy spoon shaped leaves that start green and fade to profuse purple/red.  Leaves are 12" tall and the plant is about 10-12" wide. This lettuce is often used in Caesar salads for its crunch and color. Use red romaine lettuce for incredible edible purple borders in your flower beds. This is a great seller at farmers markets for its color and holds up well under transport. So to encourage fast growth, add plenty of finished compost before planting and again as a side-dressing a week or so after seedlings appear or transplants are planted.  Remember if you are growing lettuce in the heat; plant them where they will get afternoon shade.  Lettuce is a spring and fall crop in really hot areas. I grow more than one crop each year depending on conditions.

Planting Red Leaf Romaine Lettuce While starting seeds of the Red Leaf Romaine Lettuce is not necessarily difficult, the right conditions will make the process successful. Sow Red Leaf Romaine Lettuce seeds directly in the ground in the spring when the threat of frost has passed or start in containers several weeks before transplanting into soil. Keep the ground moist but not wet for the first couple of weeks. Pick a sunny, well-drained spot for planting for the best performance. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position.  Heirloom / Open Pollinated Red Leaf Romaine Lettuce are cool weather loving plants that prefer well drained loose soil and an even amount of water. Plant heirloom Red Leaf Romaine Lettuce in rows or hills but make sure the soil is well warmed. In cooler climates, you can start Lettuce seeds indoors 2-4 weeks before last frost to extend the growing season.

  Height: 10-12 inch Plants   Spacing: 8-10" inches, 12 inches between rows Depth: 1/4  inch Germination: 5-10 days

Starting from Seed Indoors. Generally, the time to start your seeds is about 2-3 weeks before the last expected spring frost date in your area, planting the seedlings outdoors about 2 weeks after that date. Another way to figure is to plan on setting out sturdy seedlings in the garden when night temperatures stay in the mid-50 degree range both day and night. Count back and sow seeds 2 to 3 weeks before that date normally arrives. Place a few seeds (5 to 10) into each pot and push them into the soil with your finger. Cover the seeds to a depth of approximately 1/2 inches of the potting mix. Mist each  pot with water until the soil appears moist. Place the pots in an area which will provide both light (which is required for germination) and heat, preferably about 65 to 70 degrees F and at least 8 hours of light each day. Check on the seeds every day and keep the seeds damp but not drenched by misting with your plant mister. You should see sprouting in about 5 to 10 days. Once your seedlings have reached about 4 to 6 inches in height, choose an area in your garden to transfer them. You can also use containers like barrels or clay pots. Dig holes twice the width and depth of each of your pots. Fill up each hole with water then let it drain off. Place a pot in the hole center and level so that your seedling is at the same level as the surrounding soil. Push dirt in carefully all the way to fill the hole back up. Water each seedling carefully so as not to soak the leaves or stem.

Direct-seeding into the Garden.Turn over the area you've selected to a depth of approximately 1/2 inches. Rake the area until it's level and smooth. Water the area until the soil is damp but not saturated. Scatter the seeds in the area. Gently rake the area to distribute the seeds further and protect them from birds. Or, press the seeds into the soil and cover with no more than 1/4 inches of soil. You can also place 2 to 3 seeds every 6 to 8 inches in rows approximately 8-12 inches apart, and cover seeds with 1/4 inches of soil. Place planting stakes around the area so you will know where to water. Check on your seeds about once a day. Make sure to mist the soil whenever it appears dry. Germination for the Lettuce plants is approximately 5 to 10 days, depending on the warmth of the soil.   

Germination Problems

Growing plants from seeds successfully depends on a lot of factors and this makes it impossible to guarantee success on every batch of seeds planted.  Factors include, soil composition, PH, temperature, moisture levels, seed depth, soil density, seed viability, seed storage and many others.  We tested the germination of all our seeds and this seed variety is around 80%, but your results may vary based on exactly how you plant and all the environmental factors.  Good luck.