Lamb’s lettuce is also known as Corn salad and is a popular crop for both autumn and winter produce.
It is believed that the name came from sheep who like to eat them, but also because of their shape which looks similar to the tongues of little lambs.
Curiously, though this plant was once considered an aggressive weed in 19th century England, it was quickly introduced to mainstream cooking and remains a favorite ingredient today.
Lamb’s lettuce can be found in western Asia, Europe and northern Africa.
Valerianella Locusta is the scientific name for lamb’s lettuce. It belongs to , the family Valerianaceae.
Lamb’s lettuce can be adapted to other common names like field salad, Rapunzel or winter lettuce.
Lamb’s lettuce can be grown quickly and holds up well in freezing temperatures.
This plan can be considered wintergreen in mild climate areas.
This leafy vegetable is becoming a household favorite because of its slightly tangy and nutty flavor. It can be used in salads as well as side salads.
Lamb’s lettuce vegetables contain high levels of iron, vitamin C, folic acid and iron.
|Scientific Name||Valerianella Locusta|
|Common Names||Corn Salad, Field salad or Rapunzel?|
|Hardiness||Hardy annual. Surprisingly, it is frost-tolerant.|
|Indoor or Outdoor Plant?||Indoor or Outdoor|
|Sun Exposure||Full Sun|
|Water||Every plant needs 200ml water approximately every 2 to 3 day.|
|Size||Maximum 15cm (6 in. approx. In height, it spreads approximately 20cm.|
|Soil Type||All types of soils.|
|Soil pH||Neutral pH. A pH between 6.5 and 7.6 is the ideal pH.|
|Flower||Small clusters of pink or bluish flowers.|
|Growing Difficulty||It is very easy to grow.|
Appearance and Characteristics
This is a wild, hardy, annual field lettuce that forms an upright bouquet.
It is a rosette-like plant with luscious green and small oval leaves measuring about 10 cm in length.
Lamb’s lettuce is rich in vitamin C, iron and folic acid. It has a mild, distinctive nutty flavor that can be slightly tangy when it is young.
These lettuce plants are extremely weather-tolerant. To harvest in winter, plant them in the middle summer.
Lamb’s lettuce plants can reach heights up to 15cm (6 in. approx.). It can spread up to 20cm in width.
Gardeners have the option to plant lamb’s salad all year or in unheated greenhouses.
The lamb’s lettuce plants are able to produce very few, bluish or pinkish flower heads, which can be lavishly arranged on multibranched stems.
Growing Lamb’s Lettuce: Advantages
Growing lamb’s lettuce can be both easy and rewarding.
These plants not only provide you with plenty of leaves to eat all year, but they also add beauty and color to your garden by displaying dark green leaves in winter.
You can also benefit from the lamb’s lettuce. They are high in antioxidants, iron, potassium and magnesium as well as Vitamins K, A, and Vitamins B and A.
These vitamins and minerals are essential for the body’s metabolism, immune system and skin health.
It is also important in maintaining nerve health and lowering blood pressure.
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Lamb’s lettuce should only be planted in cooler months (spring and fall), but it can tolerate temperatures as low as -20F (-28C) during winter. If there is a chance of freezing rain or blustering winds, you can grow them in a greenhouse.
Corn salad or lamb’s lettuce is best when it is cooler and the soil temperature is between 50-70F (10-20C).
These are some tips and steps to keep in mind:
- Place seeds lightly in a well prepared, fertile, and moist soil, about half an inch (1 cm) deep.
- Place seeds about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, with rows of 4 inches (10 cm) between. A thin layer of compost should be applied to the soil. Use moderate water.
- Germination should take place between 7-14 days.
- To help plants retain moisture and weeds, apply a thick mulch layer around them.
- Collect a few leaves from each plant to harvest lamb’s lettuce when needed (preferably before they flower). This counts as well a thinning process that allows for more leaves to be produced.
- The climate and soil conditions can affect how long it takes for lamb’s lettuce plants to stop growing.
You can harvest mature plants by taking the whole plant out of its roots and then cutting the stem off with a knife.
The leaves of lamb’s lettuce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but they taste best when fresh picked.
Regular watering is required for lamb’s lettuce.
Every plant needs 200 ml water approximately every two to three working days.
You can adjust the water intake for container-grown lettuces based on temperature and sun exposure.
Dry weather can not cause the plant’s death immediately, but it may cause its leaves to become softer or bitterer.
The last two weeks of harvest are the most critical time to water the plant.
Tip: Yellow, loose leaves indicate a water shortage. The plant will die if it is overwatered.
You can check the moisture level by touching the soil approximately 1 inch deep.
It should feel dry and sandy if it is.
Simple checks will help keep your lettuces healthy and fresh.
Lamb’s lettuce needs at least eight hours of sunshine per day. The remaining daylight hours should be in partial shade as they do not need direct sunlight.
This is especially important for extremely hot days.
Indoors, the plants of lamb’s lettuce require at least 12 to20 hours of sunlight.
Artificial lightning can be used to adjust the light requirements until at least the first seedlings appear.
The plants of lamb’s lettuce can thrive in any soil that is shallow, moist and well-drained.
To produce healthy plants, however, it is important to prepare the soil with fertilizers and manure.
Lamb’s lettuce is able to thrive in neutral soils, however acidic pH levels between 6.5 and 7.
Temperature and humidity
Lamb’s lettuce is an annual that can grow vigorously in mild climates. It’s also surprisingly resistant to extreme cold, provided it’s well-rooted.
The ideal temperature for growing lamb lettuce is between 13 and 18C (55-65F).
It is crucial to keep the lamb’s lettuce at a cool temperature in order to ensure that it grows well and produces tasty, healthy crops.
It can stress seedlings by making them too tall or too hot. This will cause them to grow taller and produce flowers and seeds that are not their time.
Pick the mature leaves. Thinning plants helps to reduce humidity, creates space for new growth and prevents the risk of fungus.
Potting and repotting
Lamb’s lettuce tastes best when it is sown in autumn. However, in warmer areas, it can be sown in the early spring.
You can move your container around until it is in the right place. These are the important steps you need to take:
- Place some nutrients-rich soil into a small container and dig a hole approximately 1 cm deep.
- If you don’t like the idea or rows, sow one seed in each hole.
- Add a thin layer to the soil and then press down with your hands. You can water moderately but keep the soil moist.
- When your first seedlings begin to appear, take them out carefully. Pay attention to the roots, as they can be fragile and delicate.
- Each seedling should be planted approximately 15 cm apart. To encourage new growth and prevent bolting, thin the old leaves. After producing at least four pairs of leaves, lamb’s lettuce can be harvested.
- You can leave a few plants to bloom and get seeds for new crops.
Pruning and Propagating
It is easy to propagate lamb’s lettuce. If you have the funds, you can easily propagate lamb’s leaves from leftovers.
- Place the lamb’s lettuce stem at 2 inches above the white part (without leaves) in a small jar.
- To be successful in the process, freshwater is vital. It should be changed every day.
- The jar should be placed in a sunny area or under grow lights. If the weather is warm, place it outside. Check the water level and temperature regularly.
- After a few days, new growth will begin to appear. If it doesn’t happen after seven days, it is likely that the experiment didn’t work out. Replant the seeds again.
- In 12 days, your new plant will be ready to harvest.
This method won’t yield the same quality and size of lettuces as when you grow it from seeds.
Although water doesn’t have the same nutrients that soil, it can be a great option for quick salads!
Common Problems, Diseases, And Pests
Lamb’s lettuce can be a problem-free plant in terms of pests and diseases, but it is not perfect.
It is frequently attacked by slugs and aphids.
Lamb’s lettuce is a favourite of snails and slugs.
These pests can be very harmful to seedlings, and they must be prevented.
You can pick up snails and slugs by hand, or you could consider using snail pellets and environment-friendly snail slugs to manage pests.
Aphids can either be manually removed or controlled naturally by natural predators like ladybirds.
Young plants are often attacked by cutworms, but mature plants are also vulnerable.
One moth can cause significant damage to plants.
Gardeners can control cutworms naturally by attracting insect-eating birds into their gardens.
The lamb’s lettuce is able to stand uprightly, which reduces the chance of soil splash and other diseases. However, mildew can occur in high humidity.
Where can I find high-quality seeds?
You can also use lettuce scraps for more lettuce. This is both environmentally friendly and cost-effective. If you need high-quality produce, however, this is not the best option.
It is best to grow lamb’s lettuce using seeds. So make sure you get quality seeds from a trusted supplier.
Can you eat the leaves of Lamb’s lettuce flowers?
This vegetable can be eaten raw. The whole plant, including the flowers, can be eaten without side effects.
When is it best to eat lamb’s salad?
Lamb’s lettuce can be eaten all year, but it is best to consume it in winter.
Can I get more lamb’s lettuce if it isn’t harvested?
No. Gardeners are tempted to let their plants grow to get more leaves.
This is not recommended as the plants will need more space to grow.
Plants that aren’t harvested become yellowed and wilted.