Among the first crops to be planted early in the growing season, when it comes to lettuce, home gardeners have nearly unlimited options from which to choose. Hybrid and open-pollinated varieties offer growers a multitude of sizes, textures, and colors. Not only do the succulent homegrown lettuce leaves far surpass their grocery store counterparts in taste but varieties such as ‘Yugoslavian Red’ can delight growers with a diversity filled garden.
What is Yugoslavian Red Lettuce?
Yugoslavian Red lettuce is a variety of crisp butterhead (or Bibb) lettuce. Butterhead lettuces are known for their loosely formed heads. Like most lettuce, Yugoslavian Red thrives when temperatures are cool in late fall and early spring.
Reaching 10-12 inches (25-30 cm.) at maturity, this lettuce is prized for its beautiful green-yellow color with light red-purple blushing. Popular for its mild and buttery taste, Yugoslavian Red lettuce plants are an excellent choice for containers, as well as for direct seedings in the garden.
Growing Yugoslavian Red Lettuce Plants
Growing Yugoslavian Red lettuce is very similar to growing any other type of lettuce. In general, butterhead lettuces will require more spacing than other loose-leaf types. In most cases, this means it is best to allow at least 12-inch (30 cm.) spacing between each plant. This allows for the butterhead types for form their signature head. However, those wishing to plant in containers or make intensive lettuce plantings can do so, harvesting young leaves, rather than mature formed heads.
Since lettuce prefers to grow in cooler temperatures, seeds can be sown in early spring or fall. Select a well-draining location that receives direct sun. Though most gardeners choose to direct sow the seeds, it is possible to start seeds indoors before moving them into the garden.
In general, seeds should be sown around one month before the last predicted frost date or in the spring. This will ensure ample time for plant grown before temperatures rise in the summer. High temperatures are detrimental to lettuce, as it may cause leaves to become bitter and cause plants to eventually bolt (produce seeds).
Throughout the growing season, lettuce plants require minimal care. Growers should maintain a schedule of consistent watering, as well as monitor the plants for damage done by common garden pests such as slugs, snails, and aphids.