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Lamb's lettuce in bloom: is it still edible? | Harvest time: harvest lamb's lettuce properly
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Lamb's lettuce, also known as Rapunzel, field lettuce or nuts, is one of the most popular types of salad due to its intense aroma. It is presented in numerous varieties, which in turn have the most varied of flavors and should therefore not be missing in any garden.
Anyone who grows a large amount of lamb's lettuce will be amazed at how high the yield can be. Valerianella locusta produces quite a bit of plant material that is harvested and used by humans. Because of this, in a good year you will have enough lettuce available for some of the plants to bloom. Many gardeners then wonder whether the leaves of the lettuce are inedible or taste worse because of the flowering. At the same time, the question arises as to when the valerian plant (bot. Valerianoideae) should best be harvested in order to avoid the flowers.
Edibility after flowering
Is lamb's lettuce still edible after flowering?
Whether the lettuce is still edible after flowering is clearly one of the justified questions. The reason for this: Many other aromatic plants lose their aroma or even become inedible after they have developed their flowers. Since lamb's lettuce is not a salad, but an herb, the same can be assumed for Valerianella locusta. However, this is not the case with lamb's lettuce. Although the shape of the plant changes significantly after the flowers have formed, all parts of the plant are in themselves edible:
- Roots (not advisable as soil is difficult to remove)
As you can see, you can eat the entire plant, even if it has inflorescences. However, form at the same time Bitter substancesthat distort the classic taste a little. Since lamb's lettuce is a naturally spicy herb, these bitter substances are not so noticeable. At least that's the case with specimens that are harvested immediately after flowering. The longer the flowers stay on the plant, the more intense the bitter taste becomes.
tip: Be sure to keep the seeds of the plant, because you can use them as an aromatic decoration in salads.
Rapunzel is such a popular plant in your own garden because it can be harvested over a very long period of time. The rosettes can be harvested about ten to twelve weeks after sowing. Depending on the variety, it is even possible to sow in September, which significantly extends the harvest time, as these varieties are only available for harvest in the new year. On the other hand, it is all the faster with varieties sown early. The harvest time as follows:
October to May
Yes, the harvest season runs through winter and it is even possible to harvest the popular leafy lettuce during this time of year. Of course, appropriate measures are required for effective wintering so that the plants do not suffer from the cold, even if they are very robust against it. The typical lamb's lettuce harvest is usually from October to early December. From February and March, the specimens sown in September are harvested.
tip: If you want to make the harvest easier, you should definitely keep your lamb's lettuce bed weed-free. It is also worthwhile to consolidate the substrate between the individual rows with your shoes, as this will make it easier for you to get to the rosettes of the spicy lettuce.
Harvesting lamb's lettuce: instructions
When your lamb's lettuce is ready to be harvested, you should know the best way to go about it. This is important, because with the right approach you will increase your income and make your work a lot easier. You will need pruning shears to make the cut, and they should be sharp and clean. This will protect the honeysuckle (bot. Caprifoliaceae) from possible infection by bacteria, viruses or fungi that may be on the blade. So make absolutely sure that it is well cleaned. You don't need gloves. Proceed as follows to harvest:
1. First choose a row or individual plants that you want to harvest. In this way you can, for example, determine exactly which row or specimens should grow back faster.
2. As soon as you have selected the respective specimens, kneel down and lift the rosettes. Grasp all of the above-ground leaves or parts of the plant so that you have them securely in your hand. This protects the leaves from soil, which saves you time. Otherwise you would have to spend this time washing the salad thoroughly.
3. Now cut off the entire plant. Do not start the cut too close to the ground, otherwise the lamb's lettuce will find it difficult to sprout again. Just make sure that the interface protrudes a little out of the ground so that the plant doesn't suddenly disappear underground. However, you need to cut as low as possible to keep the rosette. That would be the ideal cut and requires a bit of tact. Don't worry, this will come in time.
4. Finally, place the rosettes in a basket or bowl and you can then process it.
Harvesting is one of the simplest aspects of maintenance for the Rapunzel and can be done within a short time with experience. But take your time during the harvest to get a feel for the correct cutting height that will keep the rosettes. That can differ from variety to variety, as they often have a different growth habit.
tip: If you harvest over the winter, you should definitely do this with regular ventilation, as you have to lift the fleece or the winter protection anyway. If your temperature is freezing, put on gloves as a precaution and make the cut in the same way as in autumn and late summer and you can look forward to fresh lamb's lettuce during the cold season.
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