This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Close head, leaves brownish green, good flavor, and very hardy for winter.
When fancy leads that way, the Brown Bath, and Paris Cos, are about the two best of the class. The former is hardy and fine flavored, but the latter will stand the heat of summer better.
The Lettuce delights in a mellow and rich soil, and if the best quality be required, the organic parts of the material ought to be well decomposed, consequently good rotted barn-yard manure will not be lost when judiciously applied to this crop, neither will the free use of it, if thoroughly disseminated, be contrary to economy. Good culture is indispensable in the production of the best quality of all kitchen vegetables, and so in this. Work the soil well, dig deep, and break the clods fine with the spade, adding a sufficiency of dung, and our word for it, the extra labor will meet with a corresponding return profit.
With a little foresight and management, this esculent may be had fit for use the year round, and the following few remarks are penned to show how this may be carried out. As the present is about the time to prepare for early winter, we will begin with the crop for that purpose first. 'About the third week in August, sow the seed in drills a foot apart, and half an inch deep. If the weather be moist no watering will be required; but if dry, a good soaking should be applied a short time previous to sowing. When the young plants have grown five or six leaves they will be ready for transplanting, which may be done in the usual way, about ten inches asunder. As these will be ready for use a little previous to winter, and it is expected they shall supply the early part of that season, it is well to forecast the situation, so that it may be convenient to put box frames over them when severe weather is apprehended; or where there is the advantage of a grapery, the plants may be carefully lifted with the balls of earth and planted therein.
This stock, if kept covered from frost, by placing marsh hay or straw inside the frames, or straw mats over the outside, with a lining on the sides, will give a supply up to February. If another sowing be made the first week in September and treated in the same way, excepting that the young plants may be planted when large enough into their winter quarters in the frames, a further supply will be provided to serve through the remainder of the winter. This latter crop may be put so close as six inches apart, which will economise space, and, as wanted, each alternate head may be cut out, which will leave room for those that are left to expand their sue. It sometimes so happens in very severe weather, that growth is suspended, and the plants do not progress in consequence, when if a portion be placed in a slight hot-bed the deficiency will be made up in a few days, for there is, perhaps, no other plant which at this particular stage is so much benefited by a little bottom heat During the winter, light and air should be admitted on all favorable opportunities, which will not only prevent rotting, but will also assist healthy growth.
The next succession ought to be sowed early in January, in a frame that is well protected by linings and mats, or in boxes in a cool green-house and placed near the glass. These will be ready for transplanting into frames by the beginning of March, and will give a further supply until the general spring sowing comes in. So soon as the ground is in good working order, a portion of seed may be sown in a sheltered aspect, and when large enough, the young plants may be put out as described in the first recording of these operations, and at intervals of a month, a still further quantity, according to requirements, which will give, with proper care as to variety as stated above, a supply the whole year, and a reference to the list of varieties will enable any one to select for all purposes.