How to plant lamb’s lettuce

Valerianella locusta

Lamb’s lettuce, also called rabbit’s lettuce and earth’s lettuce, as well as canonigos (from Spanish canonigos) and mâche (from French), is a vegetable native to Europe, where it is a common invader in cereal plantations. The mild flavor of its leaves makes it a very popular vegetable in salads, and its inflorescences can also be consumed. This plant normally reaches 15 to 30 cm in height (during flowering).


It grows best in mild or cold weather, and is therefore normally grown in autumn and winter in regions of subtropical climate, and from late summer to late autumn in regions of temperate climate, although it may need some protection in regions of harsh winter. High temperatures induce the plant to bloom.


Cultivate preferably with direct sunlight. If cultivation is attempted during spring and summer, or if planting is carried out in regions with warmer weather, it may be better to plant in a cooler, humid and partially shaded place in the hottest hours of the day to prevent the plant blooms early.


Cultivate in well-drained, fertile soil, rich in organic matter, with pH between 6 and 7.


Irrigate to keep the soil moist, but not soaked.


The seeds of lamb’s lettuce can be sown in the final location of the garden, at a depth of 0.5 to 1 cm. As the seeds can take a long time to germinate, it is convenient to leave them in the water for a day before sowing, to speed up germination.

The recommended spacing between the planting lines can be 15 to 30 cm, with a spacing between the plants of 8 to 15 cm, depending on the cultivar and cultivation conditions. Lamb’s lettuce can be grown in pots and planters that are a minimum of 10 cm tall.


Remove invasive plants that are competing for nutrients and resources.


The harvest can be done in 40 to 60 days. Plants 10 to 15 cm high can be cut 3 to 5 cm above the ground, which allows them to sprout, allowing for a second harvest, or the leaves can be cut individually when necessary.

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