Little Gem - a tasty romaine
If you like a compact lettuce, Little Gem is a nice pleasing variety to look for. It's a romaine type lettuce that has a pretty twisted and sculptured quality about it. It tends to stand upright and doesn't have any tendency to slump over when mature.
It's a rather compact plant with a heavily ribbed appearance. It is a modest yet adequate producer of sweet well textured leaves. Expect the plant to provide leaves that are about 8 inches in length and excellent for a salad.
Because of their twisted and ribbed nature, the leaves provide lots of hiding places for salad dressing. This variety has a nice medium green appearance and is sweet and delicious. Rather distinctive in appearance and texture, it is a good companion for the other flat leaf romaine lettuces like Crisp Mint and Valmaine.
I would rank this lettuce as slow to bolt, and it stays sweet even with elevated growing temperatures. The smaller proportions of this lettuce make it ideal for a small salad, but don't expect it to be a big producer like some of the other romaine types.
Nevertheless, it makes my list of best vegetables because of it's quality and appearance. I've grown this for several years in a row, and never tire of it.
You can harvest the outside leaves as the plant is developing, and this will provide you with an extended harvest, but it won't provide nearly as much as other varieties because it's a rather compact plant.
Little Gem is relatively cold hardy. It can can tolerate temperatures well below freezing if you provide some additional protection. Development is best in cool weather, and it requires no exceptional care.
If you grow Little Gem, be sure to grow other lettuce as a main crop, for this nice lettuce isn't a big producer, but what it produces is sure to please.
If you'd like to use this as a main crop, then plant plenty of it, and plant it in succession. This will allow you to use it one leaf at a time or harvest entire heads when it gets to the size you like.
Done with Little Gem, back to Growing Vegetables