winter hardy, tough lettuce?

mulberryknobJanuary 22, 2014

Most of the greens in my greenhouse are doing great. Growing slowly during this cold winter, but still green and alive. But I lost 1/2 of the lettuce I planted. It didn't seem to succumb to freezing, but to damping off while it was covered for a day and a couple nights on three occasions. The Forrelenshlus aka speckled trout and a heirloom that I got from George (but forgot the name of) have survived the best. Both have sturdy leaves. Black seeded simpson and another mix of tender leaved lettuces did the worst. So now I need the names of more cold tolerant, thick leaved lettuces. Can anybody help?

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I've had great results with the Winter Density variety which Eliot Coleman grows in Maine.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 10:53PM
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Twice in a week I have heard Sylvetta Arugala is good for winter.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 1:53AM
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That heirloom you received from me is actually called "No Name Red Leaf Lettuce." Now, I now that I'm widely acclaimed for my lack of ability in selecting good names for marketing. But someone else actually named this one. I've planted it in November, in Ohio, and had it thrive, unprotected and produce in the spring.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 7:55AM
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Caleb Warnock in his new book, Backyard Winter Gardening, also highly recommended Winter Density too, so I ordered some. So far it is the first thing to sprout and its already up half an inch or more :) I'll let you know how it works out because I'm planning to plant it out very early.

He also recommends Parris Island.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 8:40PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I've had good luck with several that have done well down to 10 or 12 degrees, as long as I had them covered with row cover when the temperatures dropped below about 20 degrees.

My favorite winter lettuces are Red Continuity (also known as Merveille de Quatre Saisons), Sea of Red from Renee's Garden Seeds, Drunken Woman, Winter Density, Merlot, Arctic King and the mix from Frank Morton's farm that is sold as Wild Garden Lettuce Mix. I believe Territorial Seed and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange usually have some of Frank Morton's Wild Garden mixes, which contain many varieties. His Wild Garden Lettuce Mix contains all the lettuce varieties he carries, including some from his breeding program that haven't been stabilized and released yet. I've also grown his Wild Garden Lacinato Kale Mix and had lacinato kale all winter last year. What I like about a mixed packet like his is that within the mix I usually find varieties that are both cold-tolerant and heat-tolerant, and that extends the harvest on both ends of the season.

Territorial Seed always has a great selection of winter lettuce (and other winter veggies) in their fall/winter catalog, which usually arrives about mid-summer. I have found many of the varieties listed above in their fall/winter catalog, and there are many others, including WinterWunder, Winter Green, Winter Brown and Yukon Winter Lettuce Mix. Rouge d'Hiver is pretty cold-tolerant although I don't know that I've grown it in our worst winters, though it has done well in somewhat milder winters, and so has Grand Rapids and Parris Island Cos.

If you want to grow more greens than just lettuce, Territorial Seed's Provencal Winter Mix has three lettuce varieties, Roquette, a corn salad/mache, an endive variety and Italian Dandelion greens. Cook's Garden Seed also offers a Fall and Winter Lettuce Mix, but I don't remember what is in it.

Hope this helps,


    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:05PM
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Thanks, everybody. And George, I spoke too soon. I lost 3 more of that heirloom I got from you. They were right inside the glass of the front wall. Still have a couple tucked into the carrot bed in the middle of the house.
Glenn made some wire hoops to cover the beds so the sheets don't lay right on the beds so maybe that will help.

There are other greens in there doing great. In the above pic that is miner's lettuce and garden cress at the top. Out of the pic I have carrots, beets, cilantro, kale, bokchoy, mustard, and swiss chard. Everything has survived except part of the lettuce.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:00AM
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