Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Friday, August 8, 2014

Red Oak Lettuce

the leaves will turn a darker red around the edges as it matures.

If I had to choose which of the more than 50 varieties of lettuce or greens I grow for market as my all time favorite, I would have to say it is RED OAK LEAF LETTUCE.

This cut and come again lettuce will grow and produce through my entire (short) growing season.  I cover it with shade cloth when the days begin to get hot and keep it fairly moist.  Mulch heavily to obtain moisture.  I usually get 5 cuttings (every other week) before the plants need to be tilled under and replanted with a fall crop of radishes or broccoli.

This lettuce doesn't get bitter like many of the other varieties of lettuce.  I leave several plants un-cut that will mature and produce seed for next years crop.  The red oak leaf seed is quite hard to find in garden centers or nursery catalogs.  I would suggest if you find a source, order several packets of seed and then start saving your own seed.  If you find a salad mix that contains Red Oak, just allow the Red Oak to go to seed. To save seed, simply allow a couple of plants to mature (choose the ones that are the slowest to bolt).  Late in the fall when the seeds are dry harvest and store in a paper bag until all the moisture is gone from the seed.  I put the seeds in a small airtight jar and store in a cool, dry, dark place. 

the seeds of Red Oak lettuce have a red/purple hue to them

Gather on a dry day late in the morning.  Pick flower/seed heads and rub chaff off between your hands.  Gently drop the seeds into a paper bag,.  Holding the seeds up several inches from the opening  will allow most of the chaff to be blown away from the seeds.

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