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Little Gem Lettuce

Botanical Name: Latuca sativa

$3.95
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# of seeds per packet: 490

Description

30 days baby, 55 days head. Little Gem is a cross between butterhead and romaine, giving it the unique trait of having romaine’s crunch with the sweetness and small size of a butterhead. Can be grown for baby greens or for heads. Baby leaves can be grown as cut-and-come-again (they grow upright, making them easy to harvest). Harvest as head lettuce and you'll get miniature, 4 - 6” tall romaine heads with a crispy heart. Little Gem is heat tolerant, so it's a good choice for summer lettuce. We first grew it in 2000 and have been very happy with its warm weather performance. Its small size lends itself to container gardening and growing in small spaces. Crisp leaves add welcomed flavor as well as a crisp texture to salads.

Growing

Growing Instructions (for USDA zone 5b):

In general, lettuce prefers cool weather and will bolt (flower) earlier in hot weather – this lettuce is more heat tolerant. 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. You can try to sow lettuce seeds 7/1-8/1 but lettuce seeds will not germinate when the soil temperature is over 80° - try covering seeds with row cover fabric to keep them cool and moist.  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. Days to germination: 2-14 days. Space head lettuce 6.5” apart. For baby lettuce broadcast sow seeds.

Harvest:

Baby Leaves: for cut-and-come-again, when leaves are 2-4” tall, cut entire plant with scissors 1" above the soil so you don’t damage the growing crown. Return for several harvests. Heads: Little Gem will make a small tight head (about 4” diameter). Harvest head at full size 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.


Seed Stories

Originating in the Mediterranean region, lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is grown in temperate regions around the world. Lettuce’s disdain for hot weather can be traced to its Mediterranean roots where mild weather predominates. Lettuces are important crops ‘round the world!

Little Gem is an heirloom lettuce that was originally developed in France. It is a popular home garden variety in England where it received the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Little Gem’s other name “Sucrine” means “sweet”.

Tags: vegetable

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Little Gem Lettuce [[start tab]]

Description

30 days baby, 55 days head. Little Gem is a cross between butterhead and romaine, giving it the unique trait of having romaine’s crunch with the sweetness and small size of a butterhead. Can be grown for baby greens or for heads. Baby leaves can be grown as cut-and-come-again (they grow upright, making them easy to harvest). Harvest as head lettuce and you'll get miniature, 4 - 6” tall romaine heads with a crispy heart. Little Gem is heat tolerant, so it's a good choice for summer lettuce. We first grew it in 2000 and have been very happy with its warm weather performance. Its small size lends itself to container gardening and growing in small spaces. Crisp leaves add welcomed flavor as well as a crisp texture to salads.

[[end tab]] [[start tab]]

Growing

Growing Instructions (for USDA zone 5b):

In general, lettuce prefers cool weather and will bolt (flower) earlier in hot weather – this lettuce is more heat tolerant. 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. You can try to sow lettuce seeds 7/1-8/1 but lettuce seeds will not germinate when the soil temperature is over 80° - try covering seeds with row cover fabric to keep them cool and moist.  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. Days to germination: 2-14 days. Space head lettuce 6.5” apart. For baby lettuce broadcast sow seeds.

Harvest:

Baby Leaves: for cut-and-come-again, when leaves are 2-4” tall, cut entire plant with scissors 1" above the soil so you don’t damage the growing crown. Return for several harvests. Heads: Little Gem will make a small tight head (about 4” diameter). Harvest head at full size 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]] [[start tab]]

Seed Stories

Originating in the Mediterranean region, lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is grown in temperate regions around the world. Lettuce’s disdain for hot weather can be traced to its Mediterranean roots where mild weather predominates. Lettuces are important crops ‘round the world!

Little Gem is an heirloom lettuce that was originally developed in France. It is a popular home garden variety in England where it received the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Little Gem’s other name “Sucrine” means “sweet”.

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