Iceberg lettuce – Vegetable garden
Iceberg lettuce is also called crisphead lettuce that has crisp, light green leaves that are formed into a densely packed head and are concentrated with a high-water content. The leaves vary in color depending on the particular cultivar, but the outer leaves are typically light green while the inner leaves range from pale yellow to a translucent white. Iceberg lettuce is crunchy and juicy with a mild, sweet flavor. It is a delicious addition to salads and perfect for lettuce wraps.
Scientific Name: Lactuca sativa var. Capitata ‘Iceberg’
Common Names: Iceberg lettuce
How to care for and grow Iceberg lettuce
It thrives best in cooler temperatures, desiring full sun in cool weather and light shade in warmer weather.
It grows well in fertile, well-composted, medium moisture, well-drained, nitrogen-rich soils with a pH of between 6.0 and 6.8.
It prefers optimum temperatures are between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures rise to 75 and 80 degrees, the lettuce plant will try to flower and produce seeds, which is not good if you want to harvest your lettuce. Grow this plant in the cooler months for the best results. Temperatures above 27 °C (81 °F) will generally result in poor or non-existent germination of lettuce seeds.
It grows best with consistent watering throughout the growing season. keep the soil moist but not soggy water. Bitter leaves are an indication of excess heat, over or under watering, and overmaturity.
Lettuce prefers soil that is high in organic material, with plenty of compost and a steady supply of nitrogen to keep if growing fast. Use organic alfalfa meal or a slow-release fertilizer.
It can be easily propagated from seed. Start seed indoors about 6-8 weeks prior to last spring frost date. Seed may also be planted directly in the ground about 2 weeks prior to the last spring frost date.
Additional seed may also be planted in the ground from the last spring frost date to mid-June at two-week intervals for purposes of extending the harvest season. Plant seed in late summer for a fall crop.
Pests and diseases
Aphids, flea beetles, slugs, snails, leafminers, and whiteflies are common garden pests found on lettuce plants. You may also have problems with fungal diseases if you water lettuce plants too much.
Iceberg lettuce comes to maturity in 50 and 90 days to grow. When the head is large and feels tightly packed it is ready to cut. Cut with a knife to harvest. For the best flavor and crisp texture pick lettuce when you need it and use it immediately. As the plants grow, you can harvest the outer leaves only, leaving the inner leaves to develop. Or, you can remove the whole plant if you desire a head of lettuce. Cut heads at the crown simply above soil level. By cutting the plant at the base and leaving the roots to grow, new leaves will sprout, giving Iceberg lettuce a cut-and-return again quality.
Benefits of Iceberg lettuce
- Iceberg lettuce is a good source of calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
- It has relatively few calories by weight because of its high water content.
- Iceberg lettuce is low in sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol. However, it is rich in potassium and manganese and also contains iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
- Iceberg lettuce is a good source of folate. Intake of folate-rich foods by pregnant women helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
- Iceberg lettuce also contains vitamin K which helps in the production of proteins that are required by the body for normal clotting of blood. Iceberg lettuce, which is rich in Vitamin K, thus helps in blood clotting.
- Iceberg lettuce helps to keep the cells of the body nourished by maintaining the fluid balance in the cells. This vegetable contains potassium which is one of the most important components of cell body fluids and helps to maintain the fluidic motion of cells.