Iceberg lettuce may be considered passé by many, but those people have probably never enjoyed this crisp, juicy lettuce fresh from the garden. For a tasty iceberg with great texture that resists bolting in the summer and that provides consistent, quality heads, you need to try growing Summertime lettuce.
Summertime Lettuce Information
Iceberg lettuce is most often associated with sorry-looking heads in the grocery store, boring salads, and bland flavor. In reality, when you grow your own iceberg in the garden what you get is crisp, fresh, mild but delicious heads of lettuce. For salads, wraps, and sandwiches, it’s hard to beat a quality head of iceberg lettuce.
In the iceberg family, there are many varieties from which to choose. One of the best is Summertime. This variety was developed at Oregon State University and has several good qualities:
- It resists bolting in the summer heat and can be grown in warmer climates than other lettuces.
- Summertime lettuce plants resist discoloration on the ribs and tipburn.
- The heads are of very high quality.
- The flavor is mild and sweet, superior to other varieties, and the texture is pleasantly crisp.
How to Grow Summertime Lettuce
Even though Summertime lettuce is better in heat than other varieties, lettuce always prefers the cooler parts of the growing season. Grow this variety in spring and fall, starting seeds indoors or directly in the garden depending on temperatures. The time from seed to maturity is 60 to 70 days.
If you sow directly in the garden, thin the seedlings to 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm.) apart. Transplants begun indoors should be placed at this same spacing outdoors. The soil in your vegetable garden should be rich, so add compost if needed. It should also drain well. For best results, make sure the lettuce gets ample sun and water.
Summertime lettuce care is simple, and with the right conditions you’ll end up with tasty, pretty heads of iceberg lettuce. You can harvest the leaves as they grow, one or two at a time. You can also harvest the entire head once it is mature and ready to be picked.
Use your lettuce immediately for the best taste and texture but at least within a few days.