This lettuce has been grown in the community garden at UF by people who brought it from Asia. It grows well in the winter and tolerates frost from a young age. To plant, sprinkle seeds densely in a small trench. The seedlings are ready to transplant when they have two leaves. Next, prepare the bed into which the seedlings will be transplanted, making sure it is free of weeds and saturated with water. Next, dig up the seedlings in clumps of soil. Insert one seedling each in holes poked with your finger, and firm the soil around them. Be very careful of the roots when separating the seedlings. They should be spaced 8-10 inches from each other in an even distribution. Dense planting will cause the stems to be narrow. Make sure to keep seedlings well watered for the first few days after transplanting
The leaves can be eaten as a salad green, but the part favored by the people who brought it here is the pith. Harvest the stem when the lettuce is approximately one foot tall, and before any flower buds appear (when buds appear, the whole plant will be too bitter to eat). A healthy plant should reach about 4 feet tall at the tops of the flowers. Peel off the outside of the stem, being careful to remove the white, sticky, bitter sap. The core is crunchy. It can be eaten fresh or cooked in stir-fries and other dishes.
pdf – Chinese Red Lettuce Information Sheet
(to print out)