At last a real little gem selection from an Organic source. A firm favourite for generations of gardeners, Little Gem is a well known compact variety of Cos lettuce. It is one of the best you can grow. Little Gem ‘Maureen’ is a high quality selection; with improved tolerance to tip burn and resistance to Bremia BL, Downy Mildew, which is very helpful in wet summers. It will tolerate hot weather and resist bolting. The small, compact plants are uniform and quick to mature. They form crisp, tightly filled sweet hearts densely packed with flavour. Suited to sowing March to July outdoors for harvesting May to October, sow little and often to ensure a continuous supply. Little Gem Maureen is also a good choice for containers and can be grown all year round with a greenhouse and cloche. If you thought Little Gem was the tastiest lettuce, this selection has an even better flavour, try it, you are bound to be delighted!
This seed is organically produced (seed harvested from plants that have themselves been raised organically, without the use of chemicals).
Prepare the site: 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--fertilisers such as 10-8-4, cottonseed meal, or blood meal.
Timing: Lettuce is about 95 percent water. It develops rapidly if the growing season is cool and moist. It can grow from seed to salad in about one month in many regions, and only a little longer in others. Lettuce is a cool-season vegetable, with an ideal temperature of 10 to 16°C (50 to 60°F); it does poorly in hot weather, and is tolerant to some frost and light freezes. Cos is more heat tolerant than most. Never sow a whole row at once, a small row about 60cm (2ft) long is adequate for most households. For a continuous crop, sow short rows every two weeks.
Sowing: Under protection: Feb to Mar (Plant out April) Outside: Mar to Aug 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) 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.
Cultivation: 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.
Pests: Aphids can be a problem. 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: 60 days to maturity. May to October Lettuce can grow from seed to salad in about one month in many regions, and only a little longer in others. It takes around 60 days to maturity. Harvest as soon as they are big enough for the salad bowl. 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. Harvest all lettuce in early morning for the maximum carotene and best taste and refrigerate immediately.
Rotation considerations: Avoid following radicchio, endive, escarole or artichoke.
Good Companions: Everything, but especially carrot, garlic, onion, and radish.
Bad Companions: None
|Packet Size||250 mg|
|Average Seed Count||250 Seeds|
|Species||sativa var longifolia|
|Cultivar||Little Gem Maureen|
|Common Name||Romaine, Cos, Semi-Cos|
|Other Common Names||No|
|Natural Flower Time||No|
|Time to Harvest||As soon as they are big enough for the salad bowl|
|Harvest||60 days to maturity|
|Time to Sow||Under protection: Feb to Mar (Plant out April) Outside: Mar to Aug|
|Germination||7 to 14 days at 4 to 16°C (40 to 60°F) germination rates decline above 20°C (68°F)|
|Notes||Little Gem is deemed to be a Semi-Cos by some suppliers|