I have to say I love growing lettuce. It is quick to mature, and not too fussy about growing conditions, though it does prefer cooler temperatures. And there is such a diversity in sizes, colors, shapes and textures, that there is surely a lettuce to please everyone. In fact, lettuce is such an attractive plant that it could easily be grown for looks alone. Radichetta is one of my personal favorite varieties that I’ve been growing now for several years and today I want to share a little information about it.
Radichetta is an heirloom Italian loose leaf lettuce. It is often described as being a ‘rustic country’ lettuce, though I am not sure exactly what that means. Is it perhaps considered less refined than its city cousin lettuces? I do not know! What I do know is that it has deeply toothed leaves with crunchy ribs and a mild, delicate flavor. It is also reasonably cold-tolerant and slow to bolt to flower in spring. The plants are upright in growth habit, which makes them great for intensive plantings. Mine generally grow to about a foot tall, though some catalog listings have them growing even taller. Of course they can be harvested at a smaller size for a baby lettuce, and the individual leaves can be harvested at any time.
In some catalogs (including Fedco) it is listed as “Della Catalogna Radichetta Lettuce”, or even just “Catalogna Lettuce” in others. I do not speak Italian, but a quick look in an online dictionary tells me that ‘della catalogna” translates to “Catalonian”, or “coming from Catalonia”. Since Catalonia is a region in Spain, that would imply that Radichetta is an Italian heirloom lettuce that comes from Spain. If anyone can shed more light on its origins I would be interested in hearing about it.
Regardless of its heritage, Radichetta is a dependable performer here for me. The leaves are much like Oakleaf lettuce in form and texture, though it is larger and more upright growing. Seed is widely available, and in the past I have gotten seeds from both Fedco and Seeds from Italy.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Saturday Spotlight on a tasty and somewhat unusual lettuce, and I’ll be back soon with another variety. Until then, as always, Happy Growing from Happy Acres!
To see my other Saturday Spotlights, visit the Variety Spotlights page.