Lettuce

Health Power

Loaded with good stuff: Vitamins K, A, C, folate and manganese. Romaine especially supports cardiovascular health. Vitamins A and C help prevent arterial plaque buildup by eliminating free radicals that oxidize cholesterol and help keep arterial walls elastic. Fiber helps regulate cholesterol levels and promotes healthy digestion. Romaine lettuce’s potassium may help reduce blood pressure and promote the proper firing of muscle and nerve cells. Folate helps prevent damage to blood vessel walls by lowering homocysteine concentration in blood. Folate also is essential for proper nerve development in fetuses. A few ounces of romaine lettuce give more than 100 percent RDA of vitamin K, which helps in making thicker bones. To help avoid lethargy, B vitamins and manganese in romaine help the body extract energy from food.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Vitamins – K, A, C, B9 (Folate), B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), and B6 (Pyridoxine)
Minerals – Manganese, Chromium, Potassium, Molybdenum, Iron, Phosphorus and Calcium

Disease Prevention

Romaine lettuce may reduce the risk or symptoms of cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and macular degeneration. Provides general defense from many common cancers via synergistic effect of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients acting as antioxidants, detoxifiers and possibly direct inhibitors of cancer cell growth.

How to Grow

Great veggie to have in the garden for summer harvest. May grow all year round in moderate climates. Many lettuce varieties. Some mature quickly or slowly, are tolerant to heat; others that grow back after you cut them. Lettuce prefers a cooler spot. Choose a site with part shade if your garden gets warm. Soil pH should be near 6.5. Amend soil modestly with well-aged compost or planting mix; too much fresh treatment leads to rotting. Sow seeds in trays indoors around 65˚F. under fluorescent lights or in greenhouse in late winter. After seedlings develop, prepare for transplanting outdoors by cooling temperature down to 50˚F. In early spring, transplant seedlings 6 inches apart in rows 6 inches apart, underneath cloches if temperature is too cold. At the same time, sow a larger, later variety outdoors underneath the cloche. Continue to sow a new row of seeds in open ground every couple of weeks for successive harvesting, with the last sowing in midsummer. Keep soil moist by watering as needed. When heads look full and feel firm, pull plants and cut their roots.

Insect Control

Cutworms, aphids, millipedes, and slugs are common lettuce pests. Cutworms live beneath soil and feed on the base of plants. If a plant falls due to its base being eaten, hoe around (without damaging roots) to expose worms to birds. Put cutworm collars on transplants if you have problems. Regulate aphids by planting French marigolds to attract hover flies and ladybugs, their natural predators. Millipedes are little black insects that live below the soil and feed on roots. They hide and breed under rocks or loose/fallen plant matter during daytime. Best way to control is keep garden area clean. Check under rocks and other hiding spots during the day. For slugs, embed a cup of beer in soil. They crawl into it and drown.

Tips

If roots look infected, burn or dispose to prevent later return.

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