Ella Kropf Lettuce
68 days. Mid-size green butterhead with an excellent creamy texture. We love its sweet flavor and crunchy midribs. This Midwest heirloom was donated to Seed Savers Exchange by the Kropf family of Deer Grove, Illinois, who had originally received it from a man in Stewardson, Illinois around 1930. For an older heirloom, we were surprised by the consistent size and shape of the heads. It is reliable, productive and easy to grow. Can be grown anytime, but it tastes best in the cooler weather of spring and fall. HOJ[[end tab]] [[start tab]]
Growing Instructions (for USDA Zone 5b):
Lettuce prefers cooler weather and will bolt (flower) earlier in hot weather. For early head lettuce, start seeds indoors 3/1 at 68° (cover flat with a dome and expose seeds to light). Sow lettuce seeds outside anytime between 3/27 – 6/30. Lettuce seeds germinate when the soil temperature ranges from 35-80° (68° optimum). Lettuce seeds need light to germinate - plant seeds on the surface of the soil and pat gently with a hand. Keep seeds constantly moist until germination (laying row cover fabric on top of the seeds will help keep them cool and moist). Days to germination: 2-14 days. Space 8” apart for head lettuce.
Harvest the lettuce head with a knife as it forms a full size loose head but before it begins to bolt.
Seed Saving Instructions (for gardeners):
Lettuce is mostly self-pollinated and rarely crosses with other lettuces. Isolation distance: 12’. Minimum population size: 5-10 plants. Remove early bolting plants. If lettuce stems fall over, stake them. Harvest lettuce seeds as they begin to mature (they will form dandelion like white plumes on them). Harvest seeds by tapping stems to shake seeds into a bucket. It is best to harvest lettuce seed after several days of dry weather. Harvest seeds over several weeks[[end tab]]