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Chinese Red Lettuce

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)

5 comments to Chinese Red Lettuce

  • phil

    where can you get seed in G’ville

  • miranda

    hi phil
    you can buy seed from us! we are at the downtown farmer’s market the first wednesday of every month

  • phil

    Hi Miranda I do not have wheels to get there. I live in Alachua. Can I buy thru the mail? Thanks Again

  • phil

    How much are they for a small pac? I will send you the $$

  • miranda

    Hi Phil
    I’m so sorry – we are not set up to mail seeds or plants

    Most of the seeds we sell are available by mail from either ECHO in Fort Myers http://echonet.org/

    Our Chinese Red Lettuce is actually the same as what is often referred to as “Red Celtuce” or “Cracoviensis Lettuce” sold in a few heirloom seed places
    —Lettuce Cracoviensis. (b,h) VLET-CR. Packet: $2.50 OTC ORGANIC SEED
    Unique French heirloom, forming loose heads of pointed savoyed leaves, marked with patches of deep purple. Bolts easily in warm weather, forming a thick, tender rosy stem which is prized as a vegetable. Called ‘red celtuce’ in the 1880s, so the stem was the main use then, but it can be a dual crop. Organically-grown.

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