Liz at Suburban Tomato recently started this alliteratively named series to spotlight individual varieties of produce she is growing in her suburban Melbourne garden. She also invited other garden bloggers to join in, and since I thought it was a great idea, here’s my first entry!
My first entry in this super Saturday series is Oakleaf lettuce. This dependable performer has been around since the 1770′s, when it was known as ‘American Oak Leaved’ lettuce. Like the name suggests, the leaves are deeply lobed and resemble the leaves of oak trees. Unlike real oak leaves though, this lettuce has tender and buttery sweet tasting leaves that are great in salads. The lime-green leaves make for a lovely contrast with red lettuces like Merlot or the Red Multy in the below photo.
Like most lettuce, Oakleaf does best in cooler weather, though it also holds up well in the heat. It’s great at all stages, from baby leaf on up to full size. It also does well grown in containers, or in salad boxes. You can harvest individual leaves, or cut the whole plant at ground level. For a cut-and-come again crop, plant thickly and cut with scissors a couple of inches above the soil line. The lettuce will regrow for a second harvest.
There are many ‘new and improved’ versions of this heirloom lettuce available. Johnny’s Selected Seeds alone has thirteen varieties of oak leaf types – including eight with green leaves and five with red! However, it’s hard to believe that many of these are much of an improvement over the original, though Salad Bowl is a nice bolt-resistant oak leaf type that was introduced in 1952 and is an heirloom now in it’s own right.
So if you want to grow a tasty green heirloom lettuce that’s stood the test of time, you might want to give Oak Leaf a try. I hope you’ve enjoyed this Saturday Spotlight, and I’ll be back soon with another variety. Until then, Happy Growing from Happy Acres!