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[Article] Get to know your lettuce!

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[Article] Get to know your lettuce!

Lettuce Categories

Cos lettuce

Cos lettuce

Also known as Romaine lettuce, it is medium to large in size and is believed to be one of the oldest varieties in the world. Its physical characteristics are elongated and stiff, with leaves averaging about 10-15cm in length and having a firm rib that runs down the centre. With red and green varieties, the intensity of the colours is strongest at the tip, displaying a dark red or green colour that fades into a near-white colour at the base of the leaf. The taste and texture of Cos lettuce are described as crisp, succulent, and crunchy with a mildly bitter taste.


Growing

Sunlight

Full/partial sun

Temperature

<34°C, excess heat can cause bolting

pH

pH 6.2 - pH 6.8

Duration

55 days


Butterhead lettuce

Butterhead lettuce

Also known as Boston or Bibb lettuce, it is a medium sized lettuce. Its physical characteristics are short and attractively rose-like, with leaves averaging to about 10cm in length. With red and green varieties, the intensity of the colours is achievable with strong lighting. Red varieties are a blend of red, purple, and burgundy that slowly fade green at the base, whereas green varieties are intensely coloured that stays consistent from tip to base. The leaves are described as soft, loose, wavy, and wide growing in a rosette fashion, with taste and texture being described as lightly sweet and tender.


Growing

Sunlight

Full/partial sun

Temperature

<32°C, excess heat can cause bolting or melting

pH

pH 6.2 - pH 6.8

Duration

50 days


Lolla

Lolla

Lolla lettuce, also known as coral lettuce, is a medium to large sized lettuce that is one of the most common lettuce seen in stores. Its physical characteristics are that it has extremely dense, soft, and wavy leaf tips, while having firm and fleshy ribs. It comes in red and green varieties, Lolla rossa and Lolla bionda respectively, that are intensely coloured. The taste is mild and texture is described to be smooth, crunchy, and light.


Growing

Sunlight

Full/partial sun

Temperature

<30°C, excess heat can cause bolting or melting

pH

pH 6.2 - pH 6.8

Duration

55 days


Oakleaf

 

Oak leaf lettuce

Oakleaf lettuce is a type of looseleaf lettuce that does not form a compact head that grows large in size. As the category suggests, its physical characteristic is a loose, bushy bunch that extends out from a narrow base. Its leaves are described to be hook-shaped, tender, broad, and curled that are fragile and tear easily. Oakleaf comes in two colour varieties, red and green, with both colours not being very intense even when exposed to strong lighting. It’s taste is described to be nutty and mildly bitter or sweet depending on the variety.


Growing

Sunlight

Full/partial sun

Temperature

<30°C, excess heat can cause bolting or melting

pH

pH 6.2 - pH 6.8

Duration

50 days


Batavia

Batavia Lettuce

Batavia is a more heat tolerant lettuce that grows to a medium or large size. Its physical characteristics is a wide, wavy and dense leaf arrangement at the top that stems from a small base. As mentioned, its leaves grow out from the centre point at the bottom, spreading out large and having wavy tips. The intensity of the waves are dependent on the variety. Like other lettuces, Batavia comes in both red and green varieties. Red varieties are usually only red at the tips, with visible transitions to green 2-3cm from the tip. Its taste and texture is described to be earthy and smooth.


Growing

Sunlight

Full/partial sun

Temperature

<35°C, excess heat can cause bolting or melting

pH

pH 6.2 - pH 6.8

Duration

50 days


Special Varieties

Salatrio

Salatrio Lettuce

Salatrio lettuce is not a specific variety of lettuce, but a special combination of three different lettuce varieties in one pot. Rijk Zwaan, one of the industry leaders in vegetable breeding, has specially selected combinations that grow well together. In total, there are 12 different combinations available worldwide. 


Eazyleaf

Eazyleaf lettuce

Eazyleaf is a category of lettuce varieties produced by Enza Zaden. The main attraction of these varieties is its ease of preparation. Eazyleaf plants are specially made for a one-cut preparation that will split the vegetable into many, equally sized leaves. These varieties are highly suitable for food processing and commercial use, where automation is common and operations are time sensitive.


Salanova

Salanova lettuce

Salanova is a category of lettuce varieties produced by Rijk Zwaan. Varieties under the Salanova product line are specially produced for use in hydroponic systems, providing better taste, quality, and production. Benefits include 40% more yield, improved taste and texture, and increased shelf life. 


Types of Seeds

Unpelleted

Seeds

Unpelleted seeds are your typical seeds you would buy or collect. These seeds have not been processed after harvest and come in its original shape and for, therefore managing these seeds may be a challenge, especially with machinery.


Pelleted

Pelleted seeds

Pelleted seeds are coated to make them round, smooth, and uniform. This is done so that commercial growers can handle them easier. Certain plants produce very small seeds, and a commercial farmer may find it difficult to manage them at a small size. By coating them, all seeds are equal in size and round. This is especially useful when being used with machinery, such as a mechanical seeder.

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  • Tan Koon Hong (UCSI University)
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