You probably don’t think much about the kinds of lettuce you eat or see in the grocery store, but you should!
Prizehead lettuce is a variety you’ve likely already seen that has lots of color, flavor, and nutrition. There are different ways to grow them too, from microgreens to baby greens to fully mature lettuce.
Learn all about Prizehead lettuce, its many delicious uses, how to grow it, and where to find it fresh.
What Is Prizehead Lettuce?
Prizehead lettuce is an heirloom variety that first appeared in seed catalogs in the late 19th century and quickly became very popular.
The leaves are large and green with a red tint on the tips and a unique crinkly curled texture.
This is a loose-leaf, upright type of lettuce. Instead of leaves curling in to form a compact head, they branch out and away from each other.
Prizehead lettuce is mild, sweet, and very crisp.
It’s a very productive and fast-growing crop with heads that will reach around 8 to 10 inches at maturity.
What’s the Best Way to Use Prizehead Lettuce?
One of the best things about Prizehead lettuce is that it’s delicious at any stage.
It can be harvested as microgreens for a milder flavor. They tend to be leafier than other microgreens and have the same color leaves as fully-grown Prizehead lettuce.
With a few more days to grow you get baby greens, and beyond that you’ll have regular lettuce leaves. They make a beautiful and crisp salad either way.
If you prefer your greens a bit more on the bitter side, Prizehead lettuce can help you achieve some of that sharp flavor in salads and sandwiches.
You can also mix it in with other types of lettuce for varied flavor and nutrition.
Use the leaves as a lettuce bed or garnish.
Nutritional Benefits of Prizehead Lettuce
This lettuce is chock full of nutrients like vitamins B, C, and K, folic acid, and fiber.
Vitamin B helps your body extract energy from the food you eat and is important in forming red blood cells.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps your body form cartilage, muscle, collagen, and blood vessels. Your own body isn’t able to produce it, so it’s important to have enough in your diet.
Vitamin K is necessary for making sure your blood clots and wounds can heal.
Folic acid is a form of vitamin B9 that has lots of benefits. It can help avoid pregnancy complications and birth defects, raise folate levels in the blood, ease depression and stroke effects, and also supports memory and cognitive health.
Fiber is an essential nutrient for digestion.
Grow Your Own Prizehead Lettuce
Prizehead lettuce grows fast and is slow to bolt to seed, so you have more time to harvest mature leaves.
It can be grown outdoors, indoors, or hydroponically.
This lettuce grows well anywhere but does better when the seeds are started indoors and then transplanted outside.
Start the seeds in groups of 4 just below the soil’s surface so seeds receive a little direct light. Water them daily without soaking them.
Choose a spot that gets full sun or partial shade. If you live in a warmer area, partial shade is preferable as lettuce prefers cooler temperatures.
Use loose, sandy, well-draining soil with a bit of compost added. Space your seedlings around 8 inches apart and gently pat the soil down just a little bit.
Water your Prizehead lettuce well as it grows, and start a new crop every two weeks so you can harvest any time.
When and How to Harvest
Deciding when to harvest your lettuce depends on what your goals are.
Baby greens take about 21 days or more, and fully-grown lettuce needs 40 to 50 days. Pick tender baby greens as needed and use them right away.
Once your head of lettuce is mature, you can harvest individual leaves or cut the whole stalk off at the bottom. If you leave an inch or so of the stalk above the roots, the plant can continue growing new leaves.
If you’re growing microgreens, you can do things a bit differently.
Grow them hydroponically or in soil. If you’re using soil, moisten it before spreading seeds evenly across the surface. Mist them with a spray bottle and cover for 3 to 4 days to keep moisture in.
Once they’re germinated, put them under a grow light and water them regularly or circulate water if you’re using a hydroponic system.
After around 14 days, start taste testing a few pieces every day to determine the best time to harvest your microgreens according to your preferences. If you let them grow too long, you’ll end up with baby greens!
Since they grow so quickly, it’s great to start new microgreens often for a consistent crop whenever you want it.
Things to Watch For
Don’t overcrowd your Prizehead lettuce plants or let them get too hot if you want to avoid a more bitter flavor.
Aphids love munching on lettuce. Plant trap crops nearby to keep them away or bring in ladybugs to take care of an existing infestation. Slugs are another pest that can be kept at bay with trap crops.
Where to Get Prizehead Lettuce Seeds
True Leaf Market is a great place to get conventional lettuce seeds, organic lettuce seeds, and microgreen seeds.
Fresh Prizehead Lettuce
For fresh Prizehead lettuce, check the produce section of grocery stores near you. It can be sold as a head or as loose-leaf lettuce.
You might also have good luck calling around to local farmers in your community that might have it on their crop list.
Give Prizehead Lettuce a Try
Prizehead lettuce is a versatile leafy green that’s easy to grow no matter when you plan to harvest it. Grow microgreens, baby greens, and traditional lettuce all from one plant.
Great flavor and texture with tons of nutrition make Prizehead lettuce an amazing addition to your diet.
Check out our Lettuce Plant page for even more fun lettuce varieties!