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Little Gem Cos Lettuce

Little Gem Cos Lettuce

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Little Gem
Cos or Romaine-type

65 days — 'Little Gem', also known as 'Sutton's Little Gem Cos' or 'Little Gem Cos', is an old lettuce variety that seems to have the seed trade in the U.S. perpetually confused as to how to categorize it. In the U.K., they call it a semi-Cos type. The confusion arises because even though it is a small, Cos or Romaine type of lettuce, it looks like a tiny butterhead when it is growing.

'Little Gem' lettuce is relatively heat tolerant, with small, about five inches across, bright green heads, crisp, crunchy hearts, and an excellent flavor. We are still working on fleshing out its history, but it started appearing in seed catalogs in the United States in the very early years of the twentieth century.[2,3] One source states that it was developed by Vilmorin-Andrieux Seed Company and introduced by "Burpee Gardens" in 1880.[1] We have looked through W. Atlee Burpee seed catalogs, as well as Vilmorin publications from that period, and cannot substantiate this latter claim. Each packet contains one gram, which is approximately 500 to 600 seeds.
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Planting Instructions: Lettuce and other greens thrive in cool spring and fall weather (50° F to 60° F). A few greens can handle summer heat, but most of them prefer the cooler temperatures of spring and fall. Most lettuce and greens can withstand occasional exposure to light frost but if very cold weather is coming, protect your plants with a frost cover.

Sowing: Prepare the seedbed outdoors using a hard tined rake, smoothening out the soil. Lightly sow and just barely cover the seeds with soil. Keep soil moist until germination is achieved. You can also start seeds indoors by sowing into seed starting trays using fresh new seed starting potting mix into clean seed starting trays. Just barely cover the seeds and keep well watered until they sprout. Harden off and transplant into the garden after about 3 weeks. Informational References:
  1. "Vegetable Cultivar Descriptions for North America – Lettuce (A-L)," Lists 1-27 Combined, Edited by Edward J. Ryder, James D. McCreight, and Beiquan Mou, U.S. Agricultural Research Station, Salinas, California.
  2. "Seeds, Plants and Bulbs," Schlegel & Fottler, Boston, Massachussetts, 1907.
  3. "Thomas J. Grey Co.," Boston, Mass, 1911.