Plant profile of Buttercrunch Lettuce
Often “butterhead lettuce” and “buttercrunch lettuce” are spoken in place of each other. That is, they are considered almost identical. But a very thin line separates bitterhead from buttercrunch lettuce. Though it may seem strange, buttercrunch is a subset of bitterhead lettuce.
Butterhead lettuce and buttercrunch lettuce are alike in many respects, though buttercrunch is said to be more heat resistant. Their leaf heads are small and loosely formed, and their flavor is distinctively smooth. These leaf lettuce varieties have the best flavor and texture out of all leaf lettuce types. Fast germination and slow bolting of plants and a mild, sweet, and complex taste make this plant a good choice for home gardens.
For those new to vegetable gardening, butterhead lettuce is the ideal plant to begin the hobby as it is adapted to a variety of conditions, grows new leaves as it is harvested, and is easy to grow. Buttercrunch was developed by Cornell University professor George Raleigh and won the All-American Selection in 1963. This was the premier butterhead lettuce variety for many years.
Care required for Buttercrunch Lettuce:
- Cover plants with a shade cloth if they will be exposed to direct sunlight.
- Keeping plants moist without drowning them is important.
- Every two weeks, plant successive buttercrunch lettuce crops to ensure an ongoing supply.
- A plant can be harvested in its whole or in its leaves, depending on its growth cycle.
- For best results, grow butterhead lettuce in full sunlight. Part shade is okay for plants, and afternoon shade can help delay bolting in warm climates.
- The soil that butterhead lettuce prefers is rich, rather sandy, with an average amount of moisture. Clay soils can result in lettuce rotting, so if you have heavy clay soil, consider container gardening. Generally an acidic to neutral soil (6.0 to 7.0) is ideal.
- Your butterhead lettuce plants should be continually moist from the moment they are planted to the time when they are harvested. You’ll need just the right amount of moisture to make your soil feel like a sponge.
- Temperatures of 45 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit work best for butterhead lettuce. Over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, plants start to flower (bolt), which reduces the quality of their foods. Plant a second crop of lettuce when fall arrives if your summer crop gets too hot.
- Fertilizers rich in nitrogen encourage butterhead lettuce to grow leaves. The soil can be fertilized with blood meal, compost, or manure, or you can use a simple fertilizer with one ingredient. You can supplement the soil with a liquid fertilizer put together for vegetable gardens if you are planting successive plants.
How to grow Buttercrunch lettuce?
It takes about 45 days on an average for buttercrunch lettuce to mature after planting. It is better adapted to heat than other lettuces, but it should still be planted in the spring or late in the fall.
Planting Buttercrunch lettuce outdoors or indoors is both possible. Seeds should be directly sown outdoors with as much thinness as possible. Sow a few seeds in every cell of your seed tray when starting your seeds indoors. Apply a very light covering of starter soil. Moisture should be maintained in the soil during germination. Seedlings that sprout fast will emerge within 5-10 days. Ensure your garden location is rich in organic compost matter to promote soft and delicious growth. Make necessary amendments before planting.
Sowing: Plants can be direct seeded or transplanted in early spring as soon as you have access to soil. By working in manure or compost the previous fall, you can prepare beds for spring planting the following year. A thin layer of growing medium is enough for you to cover the seed at a very shallow depth in order to ensure seed germination.
Seeding directly: Sow seeds one inch apart, one eighth inch deep, in rows with an interval of 12 to 18 inches. For crisphead varieties, plant at 12-inch spacings, for all other types – 6 to 10 inches if plant have 2-3 true values. It is also possible to lightly broadcast seed (especially looseleaf varieties) in a patch rather than a row.
The transplant procedure: Three to four weeks prior to transplanting outside, sow 1-inch cells. Reducing temperature and water to seedlings for three days before transplanting will harden them. 20 F should be no problem for hardened plants. Organize crisphead transplants in rows of 18 inches apart, and space them 12 inches apart. Other varieties should be spaced 6 to 10 inches apart in rows 12 to 18 inches apart.
Pro tip while transplanting: If you are transplanting any type of lettuce during a hot spell, you should cover the plant. It doesn’t matter which shade you use.
Varieties of buttercrunch lettuce
The butterhead lettuce, or butter lettuce, is one of the four main types of lettuce used every year. As mentioned earlier, buttercrunch is a subset variety of butterhead lettuce but that’s not the end of varieties of butterhead. Basically, there are 4 kinds of butter head lettuce as mentioned below:
- Buttercrunch: Buttercrunch harvests very well in warm climates and is more tender than other varieties.
- Boston: This flower has medium-sized leaves loosely arranged in a broad, light green pattern.
- Bibb: The ‘Bibb’ butterhead is a traditional cultivar with short, dark-green leaves that have dark red edges.
- Four-seasons: In the variety ‘Four Seasons’ (‘Merveille Des Quatres Saisons’), the leaves are red on the outside and pink and cream on the inside.
How often to water lettuce?
Cornell University reports lettuce seeds are tiny and need to be sown a quarter-inch deep, which places them at a higher risk of dislodging if watered. For seeds to germinate, they must be repeatedly watered using a gentle method and a lightweight mulch to keep the seeds in place. A mist bottle will produce a much stronger stream of water than a watering can or hose when used to water lettuce seeds and seedlings. Whenever your soil feels almost dry, check its moisture and water. In lettuce, moisture stress can cause bolting, but by providing plentiful water, the leaves will remain sweet tasting and of good texture. During the growing season, plants should receive one to two inches of water every week, depending on the soil type and weather. If it is hot outside, water more often, and withhold watering when it is raining.
Water your plants at least once per week with a hose or watering can. Do not water overhead in order to keep the lettuce leaves moist. Instead, install drip irrigation along the rows to keep the lettuce roots moist.