If you’re looking for lettuce that’s a little bit different, there’s a great variety you may not have heard of before.
Red Sails lettuce is delicious and has lots of color to add to your dishes.
Use this article to learn everything you need to know about Red Sails lettuce, including how you can grow it for yourself.
Characteristics of Red Sails Lettuce
Red Sails lettuce is a variety that grows as a head in the shape of a rosette.
It has green leaves with bronze or reddish edges that are crinkled and frilly.
The flavor of Red Sails lettuce is mild and sweet, and the leaves have a satisfying crunchy texture.
This lettuce is very low in calories but still packed full of nutrition. It has 6 times more vitamin A and 3 times more vitamin C than your average leafy greens from the grocery store. It’s also high in folate and iron and has so many health benefits.
Delicious Ways to Use Red Sails Lettuce
Red Sails lettuce is naturally a bit sweeter than other varieties, making it a great ingredient to play with.
Pair it with salad ingredients like sliced radishes, bleu cheese, and a simple oil and vinegar dressing to really let the sweet flavor shine through.
The next time you make a beautiful steak and roasted veggies, use a few leaves as a decorative bed in the plate.
For a crunchy and fresh wrap or sandwich, pile on a hefty layer of lettuce leaves.
This variety can also be grown as mild and tender microgreens for added nutrition. Sprinkle them into sandwiches or use them as a garnish on soups and salads.
Growing Red Sails Lettuce
Red Sails lettuce is a crop you’ll want to keep growing in your garden year after year.
It matures very quickly, so you don’t have to wait forever before you can harvest it.
It’s appropriate for most agricultural zones, withstanding both warmer and cooler temperatures. That also means you have a longer growing season and more opportunities to harvest fresh lettuce from your garden.
While this variety is very straightforward to grow in the most traditional way, it also does well grown indoors, in a greenhouse, hydroponically, or in containers. Whatever works best for you will work great.
For anyone who loves microgreens and baby lettuce, you’ll love Red Sails lettuce. It’s delicious at any stage and will always have that characteristic red tint on the edges of the leaves. You can even stagger your planting schedule so that you have microgreens, baby greens, and mature lettuce ready to harvest whenever you want.
Preparing Your Garden
Getting properly set up is the best way to successfully grow lettuce.
Start by choosing a spot that gets full sun or, preferably, partial shade. While this variety tolerates heat well, it prefers cooler temperatures.
Consider adding shade or planting shade crops to avoid overheating during the middle of the day, especially if you live in a warmer area.
Your plants will also need enough space to grow or they can take on a bitter flavor. Individual plants and rows should each be about a foot apart.
Getting your soil ready is simple. Just make sure it has good drainage and add fertilizer if you want. Red Sails lettuce is fine without it, but feel free to add extra nutrients.
You can both directly plant seeds or start seeds inside and transplant them with this variety.
Try to time your planting appropriately. It can withstand a bit of frost, but it’s preferable to avoid planting seeds or seedlings outside if there’s still a risk of a hard frost where you live. Lettuce seeds have the best chance of germinating in soil that’s around 65 degrees F.
To get your seeds going, make very small holes that are only about 1/8 inch deep and drop one seed in each hole. Lightly brush a bit of soil over the seeds and very gently press down on the soil with your hands to firm it up a little bit.
While you wait for sprouts to appear, keep the soil moist. It can take a few days before you notice anything.
If you’re growing microgreens, start with a tray of soil and dampen it. Spread your lettuce seeds across the top, then mist with a spray bottle. Cover your seeds to keep the humidity in until sprouts appear.
Now that your Red Sails lettuce plants are growing nicely, build up a mound of soil around the base of each one.
Keep them watered regularly, but try not to overwater.
Inspect your lettuce plants regularly to check for slugs and aphids. Planting trap crops and maintaining a healthy population of ladybugs in your garden can help avoid pest problems.
For your microgreens, just maintain the soil moisture and keep them under a grow light.
Harvesting Red Sails Lettuce
Microgreens will be ready in as few as 14 days. On day 14, start doing a daily taste test to figure out when you prefer to harvest them.
After 21 days, you’ll have fresh baby greens. You can clip individual leaves to harvest them.
Red sails lettuce will reach full maturity in about 45 days. Trim off the outer leaves as needed, or use a sharp knife to cut the whole head of lettuce from the base.
Where to Get Red Sails Lettuce Seeds
True Leaf Market has several options for Red Sails lettuce seeds.
You can go with their organic lettuce seeds, or stick with conventional seeds if you prefer.
They also have great microgreen lettuce seeds available.
To find fresh Red Sails lettuce, take a look at the varieties in stock in the produce section of your local grocery stores.
You can also check with local farmers who might grow it.
You’re Sure to Love Red Sails Lettuce
Red Sails lettuce is such a great variety for any taste, and it looks beautiful on your table.
It’s super easy to grow and can be harvested any way you like it.
There are so many more lettuce varieties, and you can learn about them over on our Lettuce Page!