How one can Plant and Develop ‘Winter Density’ Lettuce


Lactuca sativa ‘Winter Density’

Until you regularly experiment with completely different lettuce varieties, it may be straightforward to assume that there isn’t that a lot distinction between them.

However then you definitely chew into ‘Winter Density,’ and it’s like opening the door to a hidden world.

‘Winter Density’ has a juicy, crisp texture and a candy taste that stands out out of your frequent store-bought romaine.

Plus, it’s so adaptable and straightforward to develop you could pop some seeds within the floor and principally neglect about it till it’s time to benefit from the leaves.

A horizontal close up of several young, green winter density lettuce plants.

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If you happen to’ve grown lettuce earlier than, then you already know the routine – if not, you’ll want to take a look at our information to rising lettuce for all of the fundamentals. ‘Winter Density’ doesn’t require any particular care – or a lot care in any respect.

Developing, this information will cowl the whole lot it’s essential know, together with:

Cultivation and Historical past

Nobody is bound precisely the place this incredible cultivar got here from, although we all know it was bred within the 1800s in England.

It was launched to France and have become wildly fashionable there within the late 1800s and early 1900s.

‘Winter Density’ is a cross between a butterhead and a romaine lettuce, with eight-inch-tall heads that mature in about 55 to 65 days.

It has an upright progress behavior and a dense coronary heart. It’s tolerant of frost and can produce properly even in partial solar. It gained’t bolt in average warmth or a freeze, both.

You may additionally see it marketed as ‘Craquerelle du Midi’ or ‘Craquante D’Avignon.’

After harvest, the heads can last as long as every week when saved correctly, which is longer than most lettuce cultivars.

‘Winter Density’ Propagation

Lettuce needs to be planted straight outside within the spring, or within the fall when the climate is cool, however there are nonetheless sufficient freeze-free days predicted within the forecast for the crops to mature.

You possibly can usually begin harvesting your ‘Winter Density’ in round 55 days, so plan accordingly.

This lettuce grows compact and upright, so you may squeeze fairly a couple of right into a small space.

From Seed

You possibly can select to direct-sow ‘Winter Density’ seed into the backyard or if you wish to get a head begin, you can begin seeds indoors in containers for transplanting.

A horizontal close up of a metal tray with several white, oblong lettuce seeds.
Picture by Kristine Lofgren.

To direct sow seeds, put together your backyard mattress by working in loads of well-rotted compost.

I consider compost because the do-it-all soil modification. It aids water retention, provides vitamins, and improves drainage. Amending with compost could make sandy soil extra water-retentive and enhance drainage in clay.

Sow the seeds about 4 inches aside. Both place them on the highest of the soil or simply cowl them with an eighth of an inch of soil. The seeds want gentle to germinate, so don’t bury them too deep.

The problem is to maintain the seeds moist whilst you await them to germinate. When seeds sit on the highest of the soil, they have a tendency to dry out rapidly. Within the absence of rain, be certain that to maintain the soil evenly moist.

If you happen to want to begin seeds indoors, fill a seed tray with a seed-starting medium, and sow the seeds on the floor of the medium, and maintain it moist. It’s possible you’ll have to mist them a few times a day to take care of adequate moisture.

The seeds want about six hours or extra of sunshine per day, so present supplemental lighting in case you don’t have a spot with sufficient gentle to your indoor seeds.

A horizontal close up of a winter density lettuce seedling with three leaves, and several small leaflets emerging.
Picture by Kristine Lofgren.

You possibly can transfer the seedlings outside after they have not less than two true leaves and as quickly because the soil may be labored.

‘Winter Density’ doesn’t thoughts a bit frost, however the soil can’t be too soggy and moist. Earlier than you transplant, harden the seedlings off a bit.

Hardening off is the method of step by step exposing the crops to the rising situations outside in order that they aren’t shocked by the transition from the comfy indoor surroundings to the skin world.

Transplanting

Transplanting ‘Winter Density’ seedlings began indoors or bought from a nursery is fairly simple.

A horizontal close up of a gardener's hands dividing young winter density lettuce seedlings and preparing to plant them in rich, dark garden soil.
Picture by Kristine Lofgren.

Put together the bottom as described above, then dig holes the identical depth and width because the containers the crops are presently rising in, spacing them 4 inches aside.

Gently take away every lettuce seedling from its container and thoroughly place it within the gap. Agency the soil up round it and water the soil nicely.

Hold the bottom moist however not waterlogged because the lettuce crops develop.

How one can Develop ‘Winter Density’ Lettuce

‘Winter Density’ does greatest in full solar, although afternoon shade is okay as nicely.

The truth is, in case you reside in a area that may get a shock scorching spell in the course of the fall or spring, a bit afternoon shade is usually a good factor. I’ve been identified to place umbrellas over my crops throughout sudden heatwaves.

A vertical shot of several winter density lettuce seedlings in a row, freshly planted in rich garden soil.
Picture by Kristine Lofgren.

It’s necessary to maintain the soil moist and funky. Whereas ‘Winter Density’ gained’t often bolt in heat climate, warmth could make the leaves bitter.

Any lettuce will bolt in an excessive amount of warmth, since they’re cool-weather crops, however this cultivar is a little more tolerant to heat than many different varieties.

Defending the roots with mulch may also help forestall bitterness and bolting. I prefer to heap some straw round my lettuce crops to maintain the roots cool and assist the soil retain moisture.

Attempt to maintain the soil moist however not soaking moist. If the soil is soggy, it can result in issues like root rot. Permitting it to dry out could cause stunted progress and difficult, bitter leaves.

A horizontal photo of young, green and healthy lettuce seedlings planted in rows in a garden.

You possibly can inform you probably have the correct amount of moisture by sticking your finger within the soil. It ought to really feel like a well-wrung-out sponge all the way in which down.

Whenever you add moisture, you’ll want to water at soil degree and take a look at to not splash water on the leaves. You would possibly need to use a soaker hose, which is good for irrigating lettuce.

If you happen to labored in loads of compost at planting time, then there isn’t a want so as to add extra fertilizer.

Due to its compact progress behavior, this cultivar additionally grows nicely in container gardens or in spots the place you don’t have a ton of room.

You possibly can study extra about rising lettuce in containers in our information.

Rising Ideas

  • Plant in full solar or partial afternoon shade.
  • Amend the soil with compost at planting time.
  • Hold the soil constantly moist.

Upkeep

Hold weeds far-off, particularly whereas your crops are younger. Weeds compete for water and vitamins and might smother seedlings. Additionally they act as hosts to pests and illness.

If any outer leaves are broken or collapse, be happy to drag them off.

In any other case, you may type of neglect about ‘Winter Density’ lettuce till they’re prepared for harvest.

The place to Purchase ‘Winter Density’ Lettuce

‘Winter Density’ is a reasonably frequent cultivar and you’ll find it at many retailers.

For instance, Excessive Mowing Natural Seeds carries seeds in 1/32, one-eighth, half, or two ounce packets or half or one pound containers.

Managing Pests and Illness

Usually immune to most pests and illnesses, careworn crops is perhaps infested by aphids

They’re additionally topic to feeding by cabbage worms, flea beetles, and cabbage loopers. If you happen to discover small, ragged holes within the middle of the leaf, it’s most likely one among these pests.

A horizontal close up of several aphids along the center vein of a leaf.

After which there are the dreaded slugs and snails. By far, these are the commonest pests I face annually.

I take advantage of pellets to regulate them, however if you need some wonderful suggestions and different administration strategies, go to our information.

I discover that after my crops get previous the seedling stage visiting pests gained’t hassle them that a lot. If you wish to keep away from the entire downside altogether, use floating row covers.

‘Winter Density’ is immune to most fungal illnesses, but it surely’s not proof against something. Go to our information to lettuce illnesses to study what to look at for.

Bacterial leaf spot, damping off, downy mildew, and lettuce mosaic virus are the key points it’s attainable to come across.

Harvesting

Beginning at about 55 days, you may harvest the heads as wanted.

You possibly can go away the crops within the backyard so long as they don’t begin to bolt, so it’s greatest to reap while you’re able to eat them and never sooner.

Whereas the heads retailer nicely within the fridge for over every week, they’ll final even longer within the backyard.

A horizontal photo of a gardener's hands harvesting lettuce in the garden.

The best strategy to harvest is to take a pointy knife and lower the plant at its base, as near the soil as you may.

After I want to reap a number of heads and I do know I gained’t be capable of eat them all of sudden, resembling when a heatwave or heavy snow is coming, I’ll dig down and take up among the roots with the plant.

Having some roots hooked up retains the top more energizing for longer.

Preserving

Wrap your complete head in a paper towel or cotton material and retailer it within the crisper drawer of the fridge.

If you happen to harvested the heads with some roots hooked up, wrap these in a moist paper towel.

The pinnacle ought to final for every week to 10 days with out the roots, and as much as two weeks with the roots intact.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Sort: Annual vegetable Tolerance: Some warmth, frost
Origins: Mediterranean area Upkeep: Low
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 3-11 Soil Sort: Free, wealthy
Season: Spring, fall, winter Soil pH: 6.0-7.0
Publicity: Full solar to partial solar Soil Drainage: Properly-draining
Time to Maturity: 55 days Companion Planting: Asparagus, beets, carrots, cucumbers, garlic, marigolds, mint, onions, parsnips, peas, radishes, strawberries
Spacing: 4 inches Keep away from Planting With: Brassicas
Planting Depth: Floor to ⅛ inch (seeds), identical depth as rising container (transplants) Order: Asterales
Peak: 8 inches Household: Asteraceae
Unfold: 8 inches Genus: Lactuca
Water Wants: Average Species: Sativa
Widespread Pests and Ailments: Aphids, cabbage worms, flea beetles, loopers; Bacterial leaf spot, damping off, downy mildew, lettuce mosaic virus Cultivar: Winter Density

Winter is Great

A backyard stuffed with ‘Winter Density’ lettuce is my concept of a winter wonderland.

The leaves are crispy and candy, with a juicy snap that calls to me each within the canine days of summer time and the center of winter.

Are you rising ‘Winter Density?’ Tell us within the feedback part beneath!

And for extra details about rising different forms of lettuce in your backyard, take a look at these guides subsequent:

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