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Seed of the Week: Lettuce

Our mystery seeds last week were from a common plant grown in almost every garden.

The seeds will grow into...

lettuce, Lactuca sativa!

This easy-to-grow annual is often the first vegetable to be ready in the spring, along with radishes. It's a perfect cool season plant, and can even withstand a frost or two.

It doesn't do as well in intense heat, however. Lettuce tends to get bitter and bolt during the hottest part of the summer. Bolting means sending up a stalk and getting ready to flower.

There are a number of varieties of lettuce, such as Romaine, butter and leaf lettuce. I found an old gardening book that mentioned something called "celtuce" that it said was a cross between celery and lettuce. That cross would be amazing, because the two belong to separate plant families. Turns out celtuce is actually a variety of Lactuca sativa with a large, edible stem. It is commonly grown in Asia.

Photograph of celtuce by Downtowngal at Wikipedia.

The top photographs are from our garden this week. I am thinking of a nice salad right now.

What is your favorite type of lettuce? Do you have an unusual recipe using lettuce?

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