Are you looking to grow reliably crisp and sweet romaine that you can pick from all season long for quick, fresh salads? Might I suggest the romaine lettuce ‘Valmaine,’ which can produce sweet, crisp salad greens during the summer, long after other lettuces have bolted and become bitter. Read on for more information about Valmaine romaine lettuce plants.
What is Valmaine Lettuce?
Valmaine lettuce plants are a favorite for authentic Caesar salads, and they are often found in packaged salad mixes. This is because they so readily grow from seed, mature to sizeable heads in about 60 days, and have better tolerance of cold or heat than other romaine lettuce plants.
Valmaine romaine lettuce and its hybrids are commercially grown in the southeastern United States because they are resistant to both the serpentine leaf miner and the banded cucumber beetle, which cause devastating crop losses in commercial lettuce fields.
How to Grow Valmaine Romaine Lettuce
There are no special tricks to growing Valmaine lettuce. It will grow best in full sun, but can be grown into midsummer if given some light shade from the afternoon sun. Like all lettuce, Valmaine lettuce plants grow best in cool seasons, but this variety does not bolt in summer as quickly as others.
Also, because of their frost tolerance, they can be grown earlier in the season or year-round in warm regions. In cooler climates, cold frames and greenhouses can extend the growing season. Valmaine romaine lettuce will grow in any fertile, moist garden soil.
In the home garden, Valmaine lettuce seeds can be sown directly in the garden in spring when the ground is workable. Seeds should be planted in rows with plants thinned to 10 inches (25 cm.) apart. Don’t go overboard when planting; save some seeds to sow every three to four weeks for a longer harvest.
Valmaine lettuce is best when used right after harvesting. As the heads mature to classically romaine-shaped heads, their outer leaves can be harvested for salads, sandwiches, etc. Leaves will stay fresher and crisper when harvested on cool, cloudy days.