Sow winter lettuce while the weather is still mild to give them plenty of time to establish into young plants for growing outside under cloches in the garden or in borders or grow bags in the greenhouse.
Sow your Lettuce Now
Winter lettuces are bred to tolerate the vagaries of a British winter, allowing you to produce a generous supply of lettuces from your garden every month of the year if you switch to hardier varieties now. They are every bit as delicious as summer lettuces, though most have 'meatier' leaves, more able to stand up to bad weather without shredding, and a slightly stronger flavour. The red-tinted varieties colour up beautifully in frost, darkening to a rich deep purple that looks beautiful on the plate. Sow in trays and modules in a cold frame this month, then again in October and November for a regular supply till spring comes around again.
Varieties of Winter Lettuce to Choose From
There are lots of varieties to choose from: particularly reliable performers include ‘Marvel of the Four Seasons’, a big bronze-tinted butterhead lettuce forming dense, heavy heads, and the heritage variety ‘Black-Seeded Simpson’ with thick, crunchy leaves and fantastic flavour. ‘Reine de Glace’ is a cold-hardy crisphead lettuce, and ‘Winter Density’ is a smaller ‘cos’-like variety with a sweet flavour.