Lactuca sativa ‘Deronda’ | ‘Lettuce’ | ~100 seeds
Lactuca sativa ‘Deronda’ is an erect and crisp, dark-red ‘Romaine’ lettuce, developed for use as a ‘Babyleaf Lettuce’ salad leaf. This attractive, pleasingly-textured vegetable adds real flavour to any salad, and can be harvested for much of the year too.
Lactuca sativa – the ‘Common Garden Lettuce’, has been developed into many tasty varieties, of which ‘Deronda’ is a good example. Located within the family Asteraceae (and hence related to daisies), lettuce is not only a basic tool in every chef’s arsenal, but has also been associated with sexual reproduction for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians used the plant as both a symbol of sexual prowess and to encourage fertility, the Romans believed it to increase potency and the Greeks associated it with impotency and death (often eating it at funerals). Hundreds of years later, during the 19th Century, many English women believed lettuce consumption to lead to infertility and sterility!
Moreover, various cultures have maintained that eating lettuce was a good treatment for ailments including aches and pains, cancer, coughs, insanity, rheumatism, smallpox, stress and typhoid – although so far no scientific basis for any of these claims has been published. The plant is eaten as part of the Jewish Passover Seder too, as the “bitter herb” of the ritual.
Rather easy to cultivate, sow lettuce seeds approximately thirty centimetres apart in a mildly-acidic to mildly alkaline soil – preferably somewhere in full sun. Lightly cover the seeds with a fine layer of soil and aim for an ideal germination temperature of between 5-15 °C. The species will grow anywhere from USDA Hardiness Zones 2-11.
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced