Lactuca sativa

The cultivation of lettuce or Lactuca sativa goes back over 3,000 years in the Middle East where we can see images of cultivated lettuces in the tombs of Ramses where it was closely associated with male sexual prowess. The seeds were used to express an oil which was used for medicinal purposes and over time, the plant was adopted by the Greeks and Romans.While most European and Middle Eastern countries continued to breed the lettuce over the centuries for juicy leaves and heading or loose leaf growth, the Chinese bred it for a distinctly large swollen stem in a variety that I may well experiment with next year. This year we can offer a few delicious varieties, all of which prefer cooler temperatures so you will do best with these seeds in early spring and late summer and fall. The intense heat of mid-summer will often force these plants to send up their flower stalks and become quite bitter. Sufficient water is important and perhaps you can even find a spot that gets a bit of afternoon shade. If you aren’t sure which variety you’d like, try the mix which has almost ten different kinds of lettuce in every package making for a very colourful and flavourful salad bowl.