Gardening has been a lifelong passion for Wende and she’d like to share her passion with her readers. Follow her as she writes about her gardening adventures, lists tasks to do depending on the season, and gives easy to understand gardening advice.
I planted a mixed variety of lettuce in my garden this year and as I watched it grow I wondered exactly what kinds of lettuce it was. One of the plants in the row didn’t look like a type of lettuce, so I wasn’t sure if I should pull them out because they were weeds or leave them because they were some type that I didn’t recognize. I decided to find out – after all, I didn’t want to eat it and find out its poisonous or something! The package said “Mesclun”, which I knew meant “mixed”. I dug out the seed packet and in fine print it listed quite a few types. I looked for pictures of them on the internet just to be sure. This is what I found.
Mesclun means "mixed" in Provencal and is traditionally composed of several varieties of wild-harvested, young greens. Most mesclun sold today is cultivated--planted as beds of mixed lettuce seeds harvested when the leaves reach the desired size of 3 to 6 inches). Look for mixes that contain young, sweet leaves from a variety of tender lettuces, maybe a bit of curly endive for texture, some peppery watercress or arugula for bite, and maybe a few herbs. Some farms and markets sell special "spicy" mixtures that have more arugula, watercress, mezzula, and mustard leaves.
There are four main types of lettuce, listed below with different varieties shown:
Dark Green Cos
Parris Island Cos
Bibb and Salad Bibb
Dark Green Boston
Black Seeded Simpson
New Red Fire
Oak Leaf Lettuce
So after all that research, I didn’t find a picture of the one plant that I couldn’t identify as a type of lettuce, so it will have to go. It didn’t look like the regular weeds I would expect to see in a veggie garden, but if it is a lettuce or type of herb that got mixed into my seed, it’s not common enough for me to be satisfied that it’s OK to eat. I hate to pull you out by the roots, but you must go.