Are you looking for a new kind of lettuce to try or something a little bit different to grow in your garden next season?
Cherokee lettuce is a variety you should definitely check out. Whether you’re planning to cook for your loved ones or you have a backyard garden that could use new veggies, this one checks all the boxes.
Keep reading to learn about this variety of lettuce, ideas for recipes to use it in, and even how to grow it yourself.
What Is Cherokee Lettuce?
Cherokee lettuce is a variety of lettuce that grows upright, and not in a tight round head. It’s also sometimes referred to as “Summer Crisp.”
It has thick leaves that are light green at the base and turn into a deep reddish purple toward their wide, frilly ends.
This is a medium size lettuce, reaching a mature height of 7 to 15 inches tall.
The leaves are extra crunchy and have a sweet nutty flavor.
Learn to Cook with Cherokee Lettuce
The distinct flavor of Cherokee lettuce makes it the perfect ingredient to use in all different kinds of recipes.
You’ll definitely notice a difference from salads made with other kinds of lettuce. Chop or tear the leaves, add the salad toppings of your choice, and toss to thoroughly combine your perfect salad.
Its broad leaves make the perfect lettuce cup. Saute ground meat like turkey or pork with chopped garlic and onion. Sprinkle in any seasoning you like and scoop the mixture into a leaf of lettuce.
Make leafy greens the star of the show in a sandwich, grilled burger, or wrap. Add a thick layer of lettuce for fresh flavor and exceptional crispiness in every bite.
Can You Grow Your Own Cherokee Lettuce?
Cherokee lettuce should definitely be on your crop list for next season, especially if you live in a warm climate and struggle to grow lettuce.
It’s perfect for gardeners who don’t have a ton of free time to tend to their plants. It’s also a great vegetable for beginners who want to learn.
Unlike many types of lettuce, this variety is very heat tolerant and doesn’t become bitter as it matures.
This is a leafy green that stays fresh for a few weeks when properly stored. You can stagger plantings so you always have lettuce ready to harvest.
If you don’t have a large garden or prefer to grow in a greenhouse, Cherokee lettuce is a good choice. It will do very well grown in containers and is very forgiving.
Your Cherokee lettuce seeds can be started indoors and transplanted or directly sown. They do well with both methods, so it’s really up to you.
Once the final hard frost of the year has passed it’s safe for seeds and seedlings to go outside.
Pick a spot in the garden with adequate space. Each plant should have 8 to 12 inches of room on either side.
Drop your seeds into small holes in the soil and gently brush over to cover them. Just keep them moist until they germinate and monitor them for any changes.
As soon as you notice the first true leaves starting to grow on your seedlings, you can begin to feed them with fertilizer for more robust plants.
As your Cherokee lettuce plants grow, water them regularly. Be sure to let the soil dry out a bit in between so you don’t overwater them.
This lettuce variety is fairly disease-resistant. Even still, inspect your plants from time to time and be on the lookout for any pests that come to munch on your leaves.
You may also catch backyard critters enjoying them. In that case, you’ll need to put up a physical barrier like fencing or wire.
Since this is a type of lettuce that can survive higher temperatures, you don’t need to worry too much about providing shade. It can thrive in full sun where other varieties usually can’t. If your area feels a bit bare to grow lettuce in, you should definitely give Cherokee lettuce a try.
Harvesting Cherokee Lettuce
After about 50 days from planting, you’ll be able to start harvesting your Cherokee lettuce. If you prefer baby lettuce, you can harvest any time before then for more tender baby greens.
It’s known for being slow to bolt, meaning it doesn’t go to seed as quickly as other varieties. You can harvest whenever you’re ready without having to worry about missing your opportunity.
There are a couple of different ways to harvest this lettuce. You can pick the outer leaves as you need them or cut the base of the full head once it’s fully grown. Keeping the full head together in your refrigerator will allow it to stay fresh and crispy for longer.
Where to Find Cherokee Lettuce Seeds
Planting high-quality seeds is the first step in successfully growing anything yourself.
To get your hands on great seeds, take a look at Hoss Tools’ Cherokee Lettuce seeds. They’re sure to grow into beautiful and delicious heads of lettuce for you to enjoy.
Buy Fresh Lettuce
Check out the produce section of your regular grocery stores to see if they carry it. They can also sometimes order special items they don’t normally stock for you if you ask.
Another great resource for finding less common vegetables is any small farmers in your community. Head over to local farmers markets around you and talk to growers in the area who might grow this lettuce.
Give Cherokee Lettuce a Try
Once you get a taste of Cherokee lettuce it’s sure to become a mainstay in your home.
It’s a perfect variety to grow for yourself because it’s so low-maintenance. You’ll love how Cherokee lettuce adds delicious flavor and satisfying crunch to any recipe you use it in!
Lettuce comes in so many different varieties! Head over to our Lettuce Page to learn about all of them.
- About the Author
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Hope Schwartz-Leeper is an avid reader, writer, and lover of all things nature with degrees in English and Philosophy.
Born and raised in the Northeast, Hope has always had an affinity for spending time outside. Growing up and attending college in New York, then living on Cape Cod and finally settling in Rhode Island has given her plenty of experience with the climate and environment of these areas.
She loves growing her own food and plants and is always trying to grow something new. She’s hoping her apple trees will one day bear fruit, but for now she’s excited about anything that comes from the garden.