With glorious deep red, frilly leaves, Lettuce ‘Mascara’ is simply stunning. It is one of the brightest and most beautiful oak leaf-shaped types on the market today.
Developed in Holland to retain its colour through the hottest part of the summer, it is slow to bolt and crops long and hard. And while some red lettuce are more ornamental than edible, this one has both taste and beauty. Mascara is delicate and mild in flavour. It produces a beautiful, loose head of dark, wavy-edged leaves to 2.5cm (1in) in diameter.
Plant 15cm (6in) apart in a well-fertilised bed or container, or plant closer and thin later. You can harvest by pulling/cutting the entire plant or pull off outer leaves as needed, it looks great on a plate or peeking out of a panini.
A perfect choice for cultivation from spring through to autumn, Lettuce ‘Mascara’ sets the standard in its class.
For the best lettuce...
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.
Prepare the site:
Lettuce can grow from seed to salad in about one month in many regions, and only a little longer in others.
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. So 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.
Sow indoors: Anytime of year for babyleaf and four weeks before transplanting outside.
Sow outdoors: When soil can be worked in the spring
Spacing in beds : Leaf lettuce for continuous harvest: 1.3cm (½in) in bands.
Sow at a seed depth of 6 to 12mm (¼ to ½in) Seed will germinate in 7 to14 days.
The perfect temperature for germination is 4 to 16°C (40 to 60°F) germination rates decline above 20°C (68°F)
Sow seeds in short rows about 30cm (12in) apart. To do this, make a shallow trench with a cane about 1.5cm (½in) deep. 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)
Keep soil just moist. 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.
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, then the leaves will be bitter.
Avoid following radicchio, endive, escarole or artichoke.
Everything, but especially carrot, garlic, onion, and radish.
There are many types of lettuce and many varieties within the basic types. These described below are only some of the more common types
Also known as the Iceberg lettuce, this is a very popular lettuce worldwide. It has a white, crisp densely packed heart. It should be light green and have a springy firm feel. A great lettuce if you plan to use the whole lettuce all at once. The leaves soon lose their crispness in the fridge.
A delicious lettuce with a tender buttery taste. It has an open loose leaf head and compact, crisp hearts. This popular lettuce is no 'supermarket' variety, but rather a proper lettuce with an exquisite flavour unavailable from anywhere but from your own vegetable patch.
This hardy lettuce, originating from the Mediterranean island of Cos, also known as Romaine lettuce, has tall light green leaves with pointed tips, slightly savoyed leaves and a pronounced ribbed structure. The cos lettuce should have a lovely crunchy texture and a light sweet flavour. It is the lettuce of choice for Caesar salads.
- Loose Leaf
Also known as 'leaf' or 'Continental' lettuce, these lettuces do not form heads, rather a mass of loose leafs which can be picked individually as required. They are represented by a great variety of leaves, thick leaves, thin leaves, flat or curled, red or green. The foliage of the leaf lettuce can be an attractive addition to the vegetable garden and the flavour very pleasant.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1.5 grams Average Seed Count 1,800 Seeds Seed Form Natural, Black Seeded Seeds per gram 1,200 seeds per gram Common Name Loose Leaf or Oak Leaf Lettuce. Family Asteraceae Genus Lactuca Species sativa Cultivar Mascara Hardiness Hardy Annual Time to Harvest 6 to 8 weeks Notes Slow to bolt • Good resistance to mildew, tip-burn, white mold and heat stress.