Easy-Growing Miniature Butter Lettuce

Granted, this may be an odd time of the year to write about lettuce seeds, but I'm going to do it anyway, because I am so stoked on how well a variety of butterhead lettuce called Tom Thumb is performing in my garden boxes. It produces tiny, fist-sized versions of butter lettuce, and because it's a miniature variety it matures in only about 30 days. The size makes it an ideal container-gardening crop; it really doesn't need a lot of room to grow, and it's just about the ideal portion for a single serving of salad per head.

Flavorwise, it is very sweet and mild, with more crunch than a full-sized head of butter lettuce. So far the only downside I've found is that the heads are really good at trapping dirt and hitchhiking baby slugs, so they need a careful washing. For many people, there may still be time to sneak it into your gardens, as it is supposed to tolerate high temperatures and work well as a summer lettuce. I wouldn't know, as the sun hasn't shined at my house in weeks here in SF, but I will be resowing it in the summer fog for a fall crop after the current patch is all eaten.

Tom Thumb Lettuce Seeds, $2