How many varieties of lettuce do you plant each year? If you’re new to gardening you might just think lettuce is lettuce so why plant more than one kind.
I have a hand full of lettuces that I consider a “must grow” each year. Some are favorites for taste, some for beauty, and some because they endure the cold (with protection). Others are grown because I know they’ll probably do well at times most varieties might not be producing bountifully. In other words, they’re my backups.
Such is an oakleaf lettuce.
I usually try a new variety of that type each year to find one I consider the best.
Some characteristic has to make it stand out to me in order for me to really want to grow it again.
With Bronze Arrow Oakleaf, it was the beauty of the plant that made it rise above other oakleaf varieties I’d tried.
Couple of years ago I ordered Royal Oakleaf and Italienisher Oakleaf from Fedco, said to be the best of the best in Oak Leaf lettuces. I grew them both and they did what they were suppose to so I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to ’em.
And Then Fall Came.
In the fall I plant primarily for taste and dependability keeping in mind that some do better in winter than others.
On a whim I put in Italienisher Oak Leaf. Really thought it would be one of the first to succumb to the cold even with protection.
Boy Was I Surprised!
Although our winter was not as severe as it could have been, we still had enough cold temperatures to give Italienisher an opportunity to prove itself.
Usually when I harvest lettuce I pick a few leaves from various plants, but these were so beautiful — especially before the other lettuces were not yet big enough to pick — I couldn’t resist cutting the entire head at the base. Not only did it do well, but it’s regrown small but dense and perfect heads 3 times already this winter.
The second and third head are smaller than the ones first grown but they’re dense and delicious.
You might want to try some Italienisher Oak Leaf this spring. And while you’re harvesting and tasting, imagine yourself having it all winter next year. 🙂
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