Lettuce is a fairly hardy, cool-weather vegetable that thrives when the average daily temperature is between 60 and 70°F. It should be planted in early spring or late summer. At high temperatures, growth is stunted, the leaves may be bitter and the seedstalk forms and elongates rapidly. Some types and varieties of lettuce withstand heat better than others.
There are five distinct types of lettuce: leaf (also called loose-leaf lettuce), Cos or romaine, crisphead, butterhead and stem (also called asparagus lettuce).
Leaf lettuce, the most widely adapted type, produces crisp leaves loosely arranged on the stalk. Nearly every garden has at least a short row of leaf lettuce, making it the most widely planted salad vegetable. Cos or romaine forms an upright, elongated head and is an excellent addition to salads and sandwiches. The butterhead varieties are generally small, loose-heading types that have tender, soft leaves with a delicate sweet flavor. Stem lettuce forms an enlarged seedstalk that is used mainly in stewed, creamed and Chinese dishes.
Crisphead varieties, the iceberg types common at supermarkets all over the country, are adapted to northern conditions and require the most care. In areas without long, cool seasons, they generally are grown from transplants, started early and moved to the garden as soon as the soil can be worked. They are extremely sensitive to heat and must mature before the first hot spell of summer to achieve high-quality heads. If an unseasonably early heat wave hits before they have matured, they almost certainly fail. In many locations, crisphead lettuce plants started in late summer to mature in the cooler weather of fall have a much better chance of success.
Mustard Greens: Mustard greens are the most pungent of the cooking greens and lend a peppery flavor to food. They originated in the Himalayan region of India more than 5,000 years ago.
How to Select Mustard Greens: Look for a green color with leaves that don’t have blemishes or show any yellowing or withering. Mustard greens should have stems that look freshly cut that aren’t thick, dried out, browned, or split.
Butterhead lettuces (includes Boston and Bibb) have small, round, loosely formed heads with soft, buttery-textured leaves ranging from pale green on the outer leaves to pale yellow-green on the inner leaves. The flavor is sweet and succulent. Because the leaves are quite tender, they require gentle washing and handling. Butterhead lettuce is fat free, cholesterol free, sodium free, and a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate
Endive is very closely related to the dandelion plant.
Select endive heads that are crisp and bright green. Avoid heads with wilted or browning leaves.
Endive is a member of the chicory family, which includes radicchio, escarole, frisee and curly endive. It has a crisp texture and a sweet, nutty flavor with a pleasantly mild bitterness — great served raw or cooked.
Radicchio is a red variety of chicory and is mainly produced in Italy.
Look for bright maroon/red/purple leaves that are fresh, young, moist, and tender. Leaves that are injured, torn, dried, limp, or yellowed indicate poor quality.
Loma Lettuce Romaine Lettuce
Red Romaine Lettuce Magenta Lettuce
Mizuna Lettuce Giant Red Mustard Lettuce
Ermosa Lettuce Raddichio Lettuce
Arugula Lettuce Endive Lettuce