~ LETTUCE Seed ~
We are looking in particular for new colours and textures to add to your salads, but of course with bolt-resistance and good flavour as well.
People sometimes think only of lettuce for their salads, and we have some really good ones here. But there are many other plants that are equally nice and just as easy to grow - so check the rest of the catalogue for things like:
Anyways, on to the lettuces! We've listed them by the types of head they make.
Sow short rows often, to keep a good supply through the season, and not be overwhelmed.
(Note: If you really can't decide which to get, at the very bottom is our Secret Mix of lettuces.)
~ Crisphead Lettuces ~
Does well sown in spring/summer but also good for use as a winter lettuce, as it is tolerant of lower light levels.
Toothed crisp leaves
Order LeJa - 250 seed £1.89
A really showy red variety of iceberg lettuce. It has tight round heads wrapped in deep red leaves. Inside the head is bright green and so you get two colours for the price of one.
It stands well for a long time - making big tight heads quickly, and is nice and sweet, with good tolerance of cold and wet conditions.
Dark red iceberg, very pretty
Order LeRi - 250 seed £1.98
'Reine des Glaces'
Actually about 200 years old, this strain has recently been reselected for home gardeners, and the seed we have is really vigorous.
Here in the picture it is being modelled by our neighbour Mika, who was 13 at the time.
It has had fantastic feedback from all over the country, but offering it to you is difficult bceause it makes very little seed. (Right now there's only about 5lb of seed in total anywhere on the planet!)
So we sometimes struggle to keep it available to you all, as everyone seems to want it in increasing numbers every year. Our solution for 2012 has been to pack it up in smaller amounts - which we normally don't like doing - but 150 seed should give you a decent crop of lettuce if you start them in trays and prick them out when bigger. Save your own seed for next year using the instructions supplied!
Toothed iceberg, incredible, fantastic lettuce but rare seed in very short supply. Can also be grown as a Winter Lettuce.
Order LeRG - small packet of 0.5g approx 150 seed £2.30
~ Openhead Lettuces ~
Really Red Deer Tongue
Red Deer Tongue is a traditional variety, and this special strain has been recently re-bred and reselected for really super-dark leaves. It is an incredible sight in the garden or the salad bowl - try growing it next to a bright yellow one or green one for a stunning contrast.
Order LeRR - 250 seed £1.84
A very large open-headed lettuce, with bright, bright green-yellow leaves that are gently frilled. Good flavour and crunchy texture. Very decorative, and slow to bolt. It makes huge lettuces – you only need three or four to keep you in salads for ages. This is still Ben's favourite.
We've had lots of really nice feedback from people on this one, including one person who was very happy but said we need to stress the size of it more - it outgrew their 40" wide raised bed despite being beheaded several times! Actually, ours don't usually get that big, but then we do eat a lot of salad . . .
Large bright yellow loosehead.
Order LeAY - 250 seed £1.79
This is a quick and large glowing green lettuce, with rounded leaves. If you don't know the term, 'Butterhead' is the name given to lettuces are ones with softer, not-so-crunchy leaves, and they are really nice to add a different texture to your salads.
Optima is a special find. It has a good butterhead leaves, but unusually for this type, also has really crunchy leaf ribs, so a single leaf provides this amazing contrast of textures in your salad.
It was a complete star in our 2008 trials - growing really well despite the cold and wet.
Order LeOP - 250 seed £1.82
~ Oakleaf Lettuces ~
'Emerald Oak' First-Early Oakleaf
Semi-heading, it quickly makes small loose green ruffled heads that are tasty & crunchy, the right size for 1 or 2 people.
A good variety for the start of the season : sow several times in succession until the weather warms up.
Order LeEm - 250 seed £1.95
Flashy Butter Oak
It is ideal for picking a few leaves at a time, for attractive and tasty salads. One that we always include in our own sowings for the kitchen.
Absolutely stunning - and tastes great too.
Order LeFB - 250 seed £2.10
~ Butterhead (tender-leaf) Lettuces ~
Grandpa Admire's Lettuce
George Admire was born in 1822, and his lettuce was kept going by the family until 1977 when his last relative, 90yr-old Cloe Lowry, gave some to a seed-saving organisation. Slow to bolt, tender even in heat – with rave reviews from everyone.
Stunning bicolour butterhead
Order LeGA - 250 seed £1.92
~ Cos Type Lettuces ~
It was very quick to develop, as well as beautiful, in our 2008 trials, and attracted a lot of attention from visitors. We liked it because it stood well without bolting, and didn't get bitter in the heat.
This is one of the few lettuces that has both white and brown seeds, so dont panic when you see them mixed in the packet!
Modelled here by Paul M.
Order LeDT - 300 seed £1.95
Crisp Mint (Blue-green)
A great bright blue-green cos lettuce that forms big, upright rosettes of really crispy crunchy leaves.
A unique colour and shape – it makes a nice display in the garden, and we thought it was particularly tasty and crunchy in salads and sandwiches.
Order LECM - 300 seed £1.90
'Mortons Secret Mix' VERY MIXED LETTUCES
This contains seed from all of Frank & Karen's current lettuce breeding programmes. A huge diversity of forms and shapes, and to be clear this is NOT just all our seed mixed up, but different varieties you won't get elsewhere.
Its a secret because much of this great seed has yet to be named or released; but you can try it now in this special mix, years before anyone else can grow it.
For 2014 we have added even more varieties to the original mixture, to extend the range of colours and types even further.
Reds, greens, brights, darks, splashes, blushes, crisps, butters, leafs, heads, and tongues. Some varieties soon to be famous? You might be among the first to find out.
Order LeSM - 300 seed £2.79
What's this you ask? Winter lettuce are simply very-cold-hardy
strains, selected for sowing after mid-summer,
It is a traditional French variety chosen specifically for sowing in late summer and early autumn. It is quite hardy and will do very nicely in an unheated polytunnel or greenhouse, providing salads in winter and spring when theyre most appreciated.
It is remarkably cold-resistant and carried on in the polytunnel long after other varieties had given up!
Photo taken 28th February in an unheated polytunnel in Wales.
Order LeWM - 300 seed £1.99
'Jack Ice' & 'Reine des Glaces'
These lettuce, which are already listed above in the normal lettuce section, are excellent winter lettuce as well as being suited to sowing at other times of year.
Saving Lettuce Seed:
Here is volunteer Stephanie picking some seed from the Australian Yellowleaf.
Alternatively, on the right, you can see Ben has cut whole heads from the plants and let them dry, and is then stomping on them to knock the seeds out.
Basic seed-saving instructions are included with your seeds, so you can do this yourself.
There are more detailed home-seed saving guides (printable) over to the left of this page,
in the box titled 'SeedSaving', with sheets on drying and storing your seed too.
And of course, seed-saving is only possible because these are all real, non-hybrid varieties.