Lettuce comes in an astonishing variety of shape, size, colour and taste. For many home gardeners, it can be challenging to decide what to grow. We’re help to help you make sense of the choices.
Bibb type lettuce typically has large delicate green leaves. It typically has a more mild and sweet flavour. Bibb lettuce can also be called Boston or butterhead. Our favourite bibb variety lettuce is called buttercrunch.
Romaine lettuce is known for its long upright leaves and crisp juicy ribs. It has a slightly bitter flavour, with the center or heart of the lettuce being the most flavourful. Romaine is most well known in Caesar salads. One of our favourite romaine varieties is called dixter which has a deep red colour
Looseleaf lettuce is broad category of lettuce and comes in its own varieties of colours. It is characterized by loose, open heads, often with ruffled leaves and a mild sweet flavour. One of our favourite looseleaf varieties is lollo rossa which has deep red frilly leaves.
A type of leaf lettuce, oak leaf lettuce features lobed leaves similar in shape to oak laves. It is often red or green, and sometimes has slightly ruffled features. One of our favourites is a classic green oak leaf variety called bridgemere
Most people know the iceberg variety of crisphead lettuce. Crisphead lettuce is a head lettuce with round, tightly packed leaves. It is low in flavour and nutrition content, but has a high water content. We don’t grow too much of crisphead lettuce, but enjoy an old heirloom variety called Great Lakes.
Mesclun isn’t a variety of lettuce, but rather refers a mix of loose, tender, young greens. These include lettuces and other greens such as arugula, endive, mizuna, and radicchio to name a few of the many types of greens that can be included. You can purchase seed packages with a mix of greens already included or you can make your own mix from a variety of seeds you purchase individually.
Arugula, radicchio, watercress, frisee (curly endive), mache, mizuna (Japanese mustard green), escarole (kind of endive), beet tops, and chard also sometimes get lumped together with lettuce, especially when mixed together in a baby salad mix. While these aren’t technically lettuce varieties, we’ve included them here in case you were wondering about what you might find in the next salad mix you get from your local farmers market or grocery store. Look for another tip on these other greens to incorporate into your salads in the future.