Lettuce (Butterhead) 'Marvel of Four Seasons' is a very reliable spring, summer and autumn variety. This lettuce has a beautifully shaped head, is fairly resistant to fungal diseases, and has a nice tender bite.
Prepare the site:
Lettuces are easy to grow in the smallest of gardens or even in pots on a balcony or patio. Marvel of Four Seasons is slow to run to seed and there is a long window of opportunity for harvesting. For the best lettuce experience, pick early in the morning and refrigerate for eating the same day. This gives the maximum amount of flavour, freshness and nutrients.
Lettuce doesn't do well in very acidic soils, and some say the pH shouldn't be lower than 6.5. A rich soil is excellent for lettuce, but the crop will also do well in average garden soil. The best crops are grown in soil that is deeply enriched with well-rotted manure and is well-fertilized before planting, especially with high nitrogen--leaf-stimulating--fertilizers such as 10-8-4, cottonseed meal, or blood meal.
Under protection: February to March (Plant outside in April) Directly outdoors: March to August.
They can also be sown in autumn to overwinter if protected.
The perfect temperature for germination is 4 to 16°C (40 to 60°F) rates decline above 20°C (68°F). The perfect temperature for growth is 16 to 18°C (60 to 65°F)
For the best crops, sow in succession from spring to mid-summer. The butterhead lettuces will be ready to crop around 72 days after sowing. They are more dry tolerant than most salad leaf vegetables. Sow in early autumn for overwintering.
Sow at a seed depth of 6 to 12mm (¼ to ½in) Seed will germinate in 7 to 14 days.
Sow seeds in short rows about 30cm (12in) apart. To do this, make a shallow trench with a cane about 15mm (¾ in) deep. Space the rows 20cm (8in) apart. Tip a small amount of seed into your hand, take a pinch and spread thinly along the trench. Cover with soil, label and water. If birds are a problem in your garden, spread netting to prevent them eating the seed.
When the seedlings are about 2cm (1in) tall, thin them out to give them space to grow, 15 to 20cm (6 to 8in). Make successional sowings at 14 day intervals.
On a hot day, water the soil thoroughly before sowing. Try, if possible, to sow during the early afternoon.
A mulch of grass clippings, salt hay, clean straw, or the like, will keep the weeds out and the growing soil moist and cool. Watering is essential if rainfall is scant. The plants need almost constantly moist ground. This is particularly important when the lettuces are one or two weeks away from harvesting, as dry soil now will cause the plants to put their energy into producing flowers.
The key to tender and tasty lettuce is rapid growth, however lettuce has a relatively shallow and compact root system that doesn't absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil very efficiently, which can slow the growth. To encourage fast growth, add plenty of finished compost before planting and again as a side-dressing a week or so after seedlings appear or transplants are planted. Give supplemental feedings of compost tea every few weeks until harvest.
Aphids – Wash off minor infestations before the plants are eaten. If there is a heavy population grow nasturtiums near the lettuce, or use an organic solution.
Harvesting: Harvest April to October - 60 days to maturity
When the head of the lettuce is firm when gently pressed it is ready to harvest. The harvest is over when a central stem starts to form. This is the signal that the plant is getting ready to bolt and the leaves will be bitter.