Lactuca sativa crispa "Black-Seeded Simpson" lettuce, created by horticultural expert Peter Henderson in 1870, is a popular leaf lettuce variety that forms a wealth of curly, crisp, lime-green leaves. Leaf lettuce, typically considered a cool-season crop, thrives in a variety of soil conditions and tolerates both heat and shade without losing productivity. Whether you grow Black-Seeded Simpson indoors in containers or outside in a garden, provide the plants with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, several inches of organic mulch, and consistent moisture throughout the growing season for best results.
Things You'll Need
- Garden scissors
- Plastic wrap or plastic storage bags
Harvest lettuce when the plants reach their full height of 6 to 7 inches and leaves are young and tender. If the plants are allowed to overripen, the flavor becomes bitter and the texture becomes woody.
Cut or gently tear away leaves from the outer perimeter of each plant, harvesting only what you need for that meal. Frequent harvesting allows the lettuce plant to continue producing more leaves during the growing season.
Place unwashed leaves in plastic wrap or in a sealed plastic storage bag, if you don't want to use them immediately. Store the lettuce in the refrigerator at temperatures no lower than 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tips & Warnings
- The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension recommends removing fully mature plants to allow others more space for growth.
- Never store lettuce with apples, bananas or pears. The gas emitted from these fruits will cause the lettuce to deteriorate quickly.
- University of Arizona Cooperative Extension; Lettuce for the Cool Season; Laurel Reader; Dec. 18, 2003
- Ohio State University Extension; Growing Lettuce in the Home Garden; Marianne Riofrio
- Gurney's Seed and Nursery Co.: Black-Seeded Simpson Lettuce
- Smithsonian Institution Libraries: Biographies: Henderson, Peter
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images