'Little Leprechaun' is a compact variety of Cos lettuce that has a very nice appearance and is very easy to grow. The high standing green leaves are tinged with red, almost bronze.
Crisp and light, and very pretty in the salad bowl. It can be consumed both fresh or cooked.
The small, compact plants are uniform and quick to mature. The leaves have a soft buttery texture with no specking and form crisp, tightly filled sweet hearts, that are 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 through the season, one sowing every three to four weeks.
Little Leprechaun 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!
- Organic Seed.
This seed has been organically produced. The seed has been harvested from plants that have themselves been grown to recognised organic standards, without the use of chemicals. No treatments have been used, either before or after harvest and the seed is supplied in its natural state. It has been certified and is labelled with the Organic symbol.
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-fertilised before planting, especially with high nitrogen, leaf-stimulating fertilisers such as 10-8-4, cottonseed meal, or blood meal.
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.
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 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.
Avoid following radicchio, endive, escarole or artichoke.
Everything, but especially carrot, garlic, onion, and radish.
The genus name Lactuca means 'Milk' in reference to the white sap of the plant.
The species name sativa (sativum, sativus) means 'that which is sown,' indicating the plant is a cultivated one, sown as an edible crop.
Native to Western Europe and the eastern Mediterranean area, it is commonly called a cos or cos lettuce (mainly with British-speaking peoples) because it is said to have originated on the Greek island of Cos (Kos), off the coast of Turkey in the Aegean Sea.
It has been cultivated and eaten cooked or raw for almost 5,000 years and may very well be the oldest form of cultivated lettuce. Egyptian tombs reveal paintings of lettuce with long, pointed leaves, resembling romaine. It was known to the Romans, who usually ate lettuce cooked, as Cappadocian lettuce, and was called Roman lettuce due to the Romans belief in its healthful and healing properties.
It is said that in the 14th century when the Popes of the Roman Catholic Church temporarily moved from Rome to Avignon, they brought this variety of lettuce with them, calling it Avignon lettuce.
The earliest English name for it was Roman lettuce, around the 17th century. The source of the English romaine is from the French laitue romaine, Italians call it lattuga romana.
The white latex that comes from its leaf base and the thicker ribs of older, larger leaves and is reflected in its Latin name ‘Lactuca’, which means milk. Lettuce juice was used as a medicine by many ancient herbalists.
According to Pliny, the emperor Augustus Caesar is said to have put up a statue to honour its healing abilities after being cured of a serious illness.
See recipes for Caesar Salad for the ultimate use of this popular lettuce.
- Organic Seed.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1 gram Average Seed Count 850 Seeds Seed Form Certified Organic Seeds Common Name Red Romaine, Cos, Semi-Cos Family Asteraceae Genus Lactuca Species sativa var longifolia Cultivar Little Leprechaun Synonym Red Little Gem Lettuce Hardiness Hardy Annual 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) Harvest 60 days to maturity Time to Harvest As soon as they are big enough for the salad bowl Notes Little Gem is deemed to be a Semi-Cos by some suppliers