Red Iceberg Lettuce
60 days. Okay, so iceberg’s got a bad rap – yes, we grew up eating it shrink wrapped and all. But ya gotta admit, the iceberg crunch is unbeatable. This Red Iceberg rated at the top in combined texture and flavor in our hot summer lettuce trial of 2016 with no bitterness. It is one of Mike’s favorites. In our trials, it formed a loose head of super crunchy, juicy, refreshing leaves that helped us kick the summer heat. Leaves are red-green and beautiful. Be sure to pick it before it bolts (flowers) or it will become bitter. WGS[[end tab]] [[start tab]]
Growing Instructions (for USDA Zone 5b):
In general, lettuce prefers cool 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. 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 10” apart. For baby lettuce broadcast sow seeds.
For the full crunch, harvest heads with a knife as they form a full size loose head but before they begin 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]]