Rougette de Montpellier is very old variety that originated in France. It is also very popular in Northern Italy where it is also known as Rougette Du Midi or Parella Rossa. A mini butterhead that makes a perfect baby butterhead lettuce, it is one of the originals in a whole class of lettuces that are just now becoming popular.
With perfect rosette shaped heads, the loosely formed leaves are deep green kissed with ruby red accents at the leaf tips. It has the soft, tender, butter-textured leaves with sweet, succulent flavour typical of Butterhead lettuces.
The crunchy sweet buttery heads grow to be fairly small, around 15cm (6in) or so, with open leaves and a small tight centre head. They are quick to size up and are fully mature in around 52 days.
Rougette de Montpelier is very hardy and resistant to frost. Good when planted in spring and great as an autumn crop, they have good resistance to low temperatures - even sub zero and hold well into winter.
Sow from February to April for harvest April to June or sow in September to October for harvesting in November to December. Because the leaves are so tender, this lettuce requires gentle washing and handling.
Prepare the site:
Lettuces are easy to grow in the smallest of gardens or even in pots on a balcony or patio. Rougette de Montpellier is slow to run to seed and there is a long window of opportunity for harvesting. For the best lettuce experience, pick early in the morning and refrigerate for eating the same day. This gives the maximum amount of flavour, freshness and nutrients.
Lettuce doesn't do well in very acidic soils, and some say the pH shouldn't be lower than 6.5. A rich soil is excellent for lettuce, but the crop will also do well in average garden soil. The best crops are grown in soil that is deeply enriched with well-rotted manure and is well-fertilized before planting, especially with high nitrogen--leaf-stimulating--fertilizers such as 10-8-4, cottonseed meal, or blood meal.
Under protection: February to March (Plant outside in April) Directly outdoors: March to August.
They can also be sown in autumn to overwinter if protected.
The perfect temperature for germination is 4 to 16°C (40 to 60°F) rates decline above 20°C (68°F). The perfect temperature for growth is 16 to 18°C (60 to 65°F)
For the best crops, sow in succession from spring to mid-summer. The butterhead lettuces will be ready to crop around 72 days after sowing. They are more dry tolerant than most salad leaf vegetables. Sow in early autumn for overwintering.
Sow at a seed depth of 6 to 12mm (¼ to ½in) Seed will germinate in 7 to 14 days.
Sow seeds in short rows about 30cm (12in) apart. To do this, make a shallow trench with a cane about 15mm (¾ in) deep. Space the rows 20cm (8in) apart. Tip a small amount of seed into your hand, take a pinch and spread thinly along the trench. Cover with soil, label and water. If birds are a problem in your garden, spread netting to prevent them eating the seed.
When the seedlings are about 2cm (1in) tall, thin them out to give them space to grow, 15 to 20cm (6 to 8in). Make successional sowings at 14 day intervals.
On a hot day, water the soil thoroughly before sowing. Try, if possible, to sow during the early afternoon.
A mulch of grass clippings, salt hay, clean straw, or the like, will keep the weeds out and the growing soil moist and cool. Watering is essential if rainfall is scant. The plants need almost constantly moist ground. This is particularly important when the lettuces are one or two weeks away from harvesting, as dry soil now will cause the plants to put their energy into producing flowers.
The key to tender and tasty lettuce is rapid growth, however lettuce has a relatively shallow and compact root system that doesn't absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil very efficiently, which can slow the growth. To encourage fast growth, add plenty of finished compost before planting and again as a side-dressing a week or so after seedlings appear or transplants are planted. Give supplemental feedings of compost tea every few weeks until harvest.
Aphids – Wash off minor infestations before the plants are eaten. If there is a heavy population grow nasturtiums near the lettuce, or use an organic solution.
Harvesting: Fully mature in around 52 days.
When the head of the lettuce is firm when gently pressed it is ready to harvest.The harvest is over when a central stem starts to form. This is the signal that the plant is getting ready to bolt and the leaves will be bitter.
The butterhead's are not a regimented, orderly lettuce: each will have its own unique appearance and character.
Avoid following radicchio, endive, escarole or artichoke.
All brassicas (except broccoli, but especially radishes), beat, carrot, cucumber, onion family, pole lima bean, strawberry
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1 gram Average Seed Count 900 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 900 seeds per gram Common Name Mini Butterhead, aka Rougette Du Midi
Family Asteraceae Genus Lactuca Species sativa var capitata Cultivar Rougette de Montpellier Hardiness Hardy Annual Soil The crop will do well in average garden soil. Ideally aim for a pH of less than 6.5 Time to Sow Feb-April for harvest Apr-June or sow Sept-Octr for harvest Nov-Decr. Harvest Use as Baby leaf or 52 days to maturity