Lamb ‘s lettuce , with the botanical name Valerianella locusta, also called “Doucette” or “Clairette” is a winter mini-salad that is sown from the end of summer and harvested from autumn until ‘in spring. It is appreciated for its sweetness and its pleasant flavor, slightly sweet and delicately aromatic. Fairly easy to grow, lamb’s lettuce requires relatively little space, and can even be grown on a balcony or terrace.
When and how to sow lamb’s lettuce?
Lamb’s lettuce is sown in the ground, in rows or broadcast from the end of August to the end of October. By sowing in August you will harvest the lamb’s lettuce in the fall, while the last sowing in October will give you lamb’s lettuce in the spring (February, March). Whether sowing is done on the fly or in line, after sowing, cover the seeds with a few millimeters of fine soil then with the back of the rake or, better, with a wooden board, pack down so that the seeds are in good contact. with the ground. Finally, don’t forget to water. Germination will occur within a fortnight maximum. You should also know that it is quite possible to grow lamb’s lettuce in pots or planters and that you can therefore also grow it easily on your balcony or terrace.
In general, lamb’s lettuce likes humus-rich soils, cool, slightly leaden on the surface, but it will also grow in light soils if they are sufficiently cool. It likes a shady or even sunny situation, but beware, it fears excess heat and humidity. Some varieties are more or less late, for autumn sowing, choose a late and cold-resistant variety such as the ‘Verte de Cambrai’ lamb’s lettuce for example. To spread out the harvest, stagger the sowing every 15 days or so: you will have lamb’s lettuce from October to March.
Harvest well and store the lamb’s lettuce!
We harvest the lamb’s lettuce when the rosettes are well formed, about 3 months after sowing, and absolutely before the lamb’s lettuce flowers. When harvesting, there is no need to pull out the root, cut just above. By leaving the roots you should have a second crop.
Note that you can let one or two lamb’s lettuce go to seed at the end of cultivation. In this way, it will reseed itself naturally and reappear in the vegetable garden each year. Its small size and staggered cultivation period mean that it will not compete with other vegetables.
Although its shelf life is relatively short, it is possible to keep the lamb’s lettuce a little longer by placing it in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator, wrapped in a loose towel or plastic wrap.