Grand Rapids Lettuce

Lactuca sativa

$4.95

Pkt(≈250 seeds)
28 days baby, 50 days mature. In our never-ending pursuit to recover the long-lost history of agriculture in the Great Lakes region, we fortunately stumbled upon “Grand Rapids” lettuce, which tells a story of the region that began over 100 years ago. Bred in the late 1800’s by Eugene Davis, known as the "father of forced lettuce,” Grand Rapids lettuce became the leading greenhouse-grown winter lettuce in the Grand Rapids, MI area. By the turn of the 20th century, these remarkably expansive greenhouses (over 150,000 square feet of them) were supplying millions of pounds of winter lettuce to the people of the Great Lakes region. Grand Rapids lettuce is bright green, with wavy, frilled leaves. If left to mature it forms a head of loose leaves that reach 7 - 8” tall. It is very vigorous and bolt tolerant. We have been growing it as cut-and-come-again baby greens in our unheated hoophouse where, when sown by September 1st, it provides non-bitter lettuce through fall, winter and all the way until the end of April! We have never seen a lettuce that does not turn bitter after 7 months! In our trials it has outperformed many other lettuces in the hoophouse due to its combination of cold hardiness and moderate resistance to downy mildew (it doesn’t need extra covering inside the hoophouse unless temps go below zero). By growing it year-after-year and saving seeds from the strongest surviving plants, we are continuing to select it for southeast Michigan hoophouse growing conditions. We are so excited to be bringing this variety back to Michigan and share it with you!

Lettuce prefers cooler weather and will bolt (flower) earlier in hot weather. Sow lettuce seeds outside anytime between March 27th – June 30th. 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. For early head lettuce, start seeds indoors March 1st at 68° (cover flat with a dome and expose seeds to light). Grand Rapids makes great fall/winter lettuce. Sow it around Aug. 15th during a cool spell (lettuce seeds will not germinate if soil temperatures are over 80°) - try covering seeds with row cover fabric to keep them cool and moist. Space 8” apart for head lettuce. Broadcast sow seeds for baby leaf lettuce.