What is Yugoslav red lettuce? – Care of Yugoslav red lettuce plants

Among the first crops to be planted early in the growing season, when it comes to lettuce, hobby gardeners have an almost unlimited choice. Open-pollinated varieties and hybrids offer growers a multitude of sizes, textures and colours. Not only do the succulent, locally grown lettuce leaves taste far superior to their grocery store counterparts, but varieties like Yugoslavian Red can delight growers with a garden full of diversity.

What is Yugoslav red lettuce?

Yugoslavian red lettuce is a variety of crispy, butterhead (or Bibb) lettuce. Head lettuces are known for their free heads. Like most lettuces, redhead lettuce grows in cool weather in late fall and early spring.

Reaching 10-12 cm (25-30 cm) at maturity, this lettuce is prized for its beautiful green-yellow colour with a slight reddening. Popular for its sweet, buttery flavour, Yugoslav red lettuce is an excellent choice for repotting as well as for planting directly in the garden.

Cultivation of Yugoslav red lettuce

The cultivation of Yugoslav red lettuce is very similar to that of any other type of lettuce. Head lettuces generally require more space than other types of leaves. In most cases this means that it is best to leave at least 12 cm (30 cm) of space between each plant. This allows the butterhead types to form their characteristic heads. However, those who wish to containerize or intensively plant lettuce can do so by harvesting the young leaves, rather than the mature formed heads.

Since lettuce prefers cooler temperatures, seeds can be sown in early spring or fall. Choose a site with good drainage that receives direct sunlight. Although most gardeners opt for direct seeding, it is possible to start seeding indoors before transporting the seeds to the garden.

In general, seed should be sown about one month before the last expected frost date or in the spring. This will give the plant enough time to develop before temperatures rise in the summer. High temperatures are detrimental to lettuce as they can make the leaves bitter and the plants may end up in a slurry (producing seeds).

During the growing season, lettuce plants require a minimum of care. Growers should maintain a regular watering program and monitor plants for damage from common garden pests such as slugs, snails and aphids.

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