Divina Lettuce Plant Facts – How To Care For Divina Lettuce Plants
By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Lettuce lovers rejoice! Divina lettuce plants produce emerald green leaves that are sweet and perfect for salad. In warmer regions, where lettuces bolt quickly, Divina lettuce is slow to bolt and can provide greens for weeks. Use the outer leaves as the inner head develops and then take the whole tightly folded head for a main meal. Some tips on how to grow Divina lettuce will see you enjoying this amazing lettuce within 50 days of seeding.
About Divina Lettuce Plants
There are many types of salad greens available for gardeners to grow. Care for Divina lettuce is minimal because once started in a good site and soil, it mostly fends for itself.
There are a few serious pests to watch for when growing Divina lettuce and the variety is resistant to powdery mildew and sclerotinia.
Divina is a classic butter leaf lettuce with the characteristic delicate, tooth happy texture and lush flavor. The heads are fairly loose with wavy leaves and bright green color. It is a French variety that has all but disappeared from cultivation and is an heirloom resurrected by novelty growers. The large outer leaves make perfect lettuce wraps and the denser inner head has a slight crunch at the rib with softer edges.
Divina prefers cooler weather and should be planted in early spring or late summer for a fall crop.
How to Grow Divina Lettuce
Divina is grown from seed. Select a full sun location and prepare soil by tilling deeply and incorporating plenty of composted organic matter. You can also start seeds indoors in flats and transplant them outside. Indoor starts are best for a fall crop.
This smaller lettuce is also suitable for container growing. Sow on the surface of prepared soil and dust a bit more soil over the top of the seeds. Keep the area moist but not soggy. Germination can be expected in 7 to 12 days.
Divina Lettuce Plant Care
Growing Divina lettuce is one of the easier crops provided it is timed to harvest before hot weather arrives. Even though it is resistant to powdery mildew, watering under the leaves will prevent any other fungal diseases.
Keep vigilant for slugs and snails, which will make Swiss cheese out of your little plants. Provide slug bait, diatomaceous earth, or beer traps to prevent these common pests from chewing on your crop. Use organic insecticidal soap for any other pests. If you have rabbits in your garden, erect a critter fence.
Harvest the outer leaves at any time. The heads should be ready to use in approximately 50 days.
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Lettuce guru grows greens for palette and palate / Napa Valley gardener makes salads with lavish flavors and dazzling colors
Constant Harvest: Lettuce is seldom allowed to grow to a full head, and is usually harvested leaf by leaf. HANDOUT
Spring arrived at Molly Chappellet's Napa Valley vegetable garden with a flourish this year.
In her hillside garden high above the vineyards of the Chappellet Winery, tall bean plants and early corn whirled as if with the giddy optimism of a new growing season. And Chappellet's colorful rows of lettuces were already producing enough tender greens to make lavish salads.
"As soon as the soil is right, I sow lettuce seeds directly into the garden, " she said. It is her 30th spring gardening on Pritchard Hill.
Frothy bronze fennel shoots shimmied in the breeze, grey-green artichoke leaves arched along winding pathways, and the tightly furled pale-green leaves of 'Bibb' and 'Buttercrunch' lettuces already looked tasty enough to eat on the spot.
Chappellet, experimental and bold gardener and the author of "Gardens of the Wine Country," headed out in the afternoon sunshine to inspect her two salad gardens.
"The soil feels warm," she murmured, digging her fingers deep into the moist, dark brown earth. "It's time to plant more lettuce seeds."
This year, Chappellet has prepared two very different salad gardens. She long ago gave up on space-wasting single rows of lettuces, and now prefers more artful and space-efficient approaches.
Her first idea is to create a large mound, around 10 feet in diameter and almost 3 feet high, of well-composted soil. This will be densely planted with an Impressionist's delight of bright green 'Bibb' and 'Buttercrunch' lettuces, rust-tipped 'Red Sails' lettuces, and a tasty mosaic of chives, basil, marjoram, oregano and thyme among them.
She selects her salad plants for their vivid colors, as well as for intense flavors and crisp textures. The seeds will be planted on the mound in clusters rather than rows.
"You can really jam lettuces together," advised Chappellet. "And this technique prevents weeds from growing in between the plants."
The second salad plot is even more artful. For Chappellet, an accomplished photographer, the garden is both a painter's canvas and larder. It's a feast for the eyes as well as for the taste buds.
She will plant six different lettuce varieties, including bronze-leaf lettuce and the pale green Italian lettuce, 'Lollo Biondo,' between ten 20- foot long rows of lavender (Lavandula grosso). The lavender is clipped into neat globes.
Her horticultural sleight-of-hand will stripe this section garden with graphic pattern and vibrant colors of purple and green. The effect is very Provencal, very south of France. The salad greens are happy companions to the lavender. And the lettuces complete their first harvest just as the lavender comes into purple bloom.
You don't need a large garden to create these effects, insisted Chappellet. A densely planted lettuce mound can be built up in a small plot. Lavender will grow in warmer climates with day-long summer sun and takes up little space.
In cooler areas where lavender does not flourish, the stripes of color can be created with rows of lettuces interspersed with chives, onions and opal basil.
When her tender lettuces are just 4 or 5 inches high, Chappellet thins out the rows and the mound, making salads with the petal-like leaves. She never waits until the lettuces have formed a head to harvest them.
"I usually pick the salad greens leaf by leaf, rather than the whole head," she noted. "That way I can choose four or five different varieties and make a colorful salad with complex flavors."
Her painterly technique of interplanting also allows her to grow four or five fresh crops throughout the summer and into the fall.
"I select lettuces like 'Bibb' which don't bolt in the summer heat," said Chappellet. "We also like oak-leaf varieties, and I like 'Merveille des Quatre Saisons,' but we always go back to 'Bibb'. It's so juicy and crunchy and refreshing on a hot day."
Lettuce Types for the Garden
The five varieties of lettuce that can be grown in the garden include the following:
Crisphead or Iceberg
Crisphead lettuce, more commonly known as iceberg, has a tight head of crisp leaves. Often found in the local salad bar and a virtual staple in the delicious BLT, it's actually one of the more difficult lettuce varieties to grow. This lettuce variety is not fond of hot summer temps or water stress and may rot from the inside out.
Start iceberg lettuce via seed directly sown 18-24 inches apart or started indoors and then thinned to 12-14 inches between heads. Some iceberg lettuce varieties include: Ballade, Crispino, Ithaca, Legacy, Mission, Salinas, Summertime and Sun Devil, all of which mature in 70-80 days.
Summer Crisp, French Crisp or Batavian
Somewhat between the lettuce types Crisphead and Looseleaf, Summer Crisp is a large lettuce variety resistant to bolting with great flavor. It has thick, crisp outer leaves, which can be harvested as a looseleaf until the head forms, while the heart is sweet, juicy and a bit nutty.
Different types of lettuce for this variety are: Jack Ice, Oscarde, Reine Des Glaces, Anuenue, Loma, Magenta, Nevada and Roger, all of which mature within 55-60 days.
Butterhead, Boston or Bibb
One of the more delicate varieties of lettuce, Butterhead is creamy to light green on the inside and loose, soft and ruffled green on the exterior. These different types of lettuce may be harvested by removing the entire head or just the outside leaves, and are easier to grow than the Crispheads, being more tolerant of conditions.
Less likely to bolt and rarely bitter, the Butterhead lettuce varieties mature in about 55-75 days, and are spaced similarly to the Crispheads. These varieties of lettuce include: Blushed Butter Oak, Buttercrunch, Carmona, Divina, Emerald Oak, Flashy Butter Oak, Sanguine Ameliore, Summer Bibb, Tom Thumb, Victoria, and Yugoslavian Red and are extremely popular in Europe.
Romaine or Cos
Romaine varieties are typically 8-10 inches tall and upright growing with spoon-shaped, tightly folded leaves and thick ribs. Coloration is medium green on the exterior to greenish white inside with the outer leaves sometimes being tough whilst the interior foliage is tender with wonderful crunch and sweetness.
'Romaine' comes from the word Roman while 'Cos' is derived from the Greek island of Kos. Some different types of this lettuce are: Brown Golding, Devil's Tongue, Dark Green Romaine, De Morges Braun, Hyper Red Rumple, Little Leprechaun, Paris Island Cos, Valmaine, and Winter Density, all of which mature in around 70 days.
Looseleaf, Leaf, Cutting or Bunching
Last but not least is one of the easiest types of lettuce to grow — the Looseleaf varieties of lettuce, which form no head or heart. Harvest these varieties either whole or by the leaf as they mature. Plant at weekly intervals starting in early April and again mid-August. Thin Looseleaf lettuce to 4-6 inches apart. Looseleaf varieties are slow bolting and heat resistant.
A wide variety of colors and shapes guaranteed to stimulate the eyes and the palate are available in these lettuce varieties: Bijou, Black Seeded Simpson, Bronze Leaf, Fine Frilled, Gold Rush, Green Ice, Oakleaf, Perilla Green, Perilla Red, Merlot, Merveille De Mai, Ruby, and Simpson Elite, which will all mature within a 40-45 day time period.
Bucket gardening basics
Follow the tips below to get started on your own bucket garden.
Choose the right buckets
It’s best to prep buckets that were usedВ for food-grade materials or clay-based kitty litter. Don’t use buckets used forВ questionable materials like asphalt, herbicides, pesticides, pool chemicals, or tar.
- 1 Plastic 5-gallon bucket for each plant
- Enough 50/50 potting soil/compost blend to fill all your buckets
- 1 Plant for each bucket
- Cordless drill with a 1/2-inch drill bit
- Eye protection (for drilling)
- Flip over each of the buckets, then use the drill with bit to create 3-5 drainage holes in the bottom of each one. Don’t push too hard on the drill to avoid cracking the bucket.
- Fill the bucket with the potting soil and compost blend. Leave at least 1 inch of space near the bucketвЂ™s upper rim.
- Plant one crop in the bucket then water it well.
- Repeat the process forВ all your 5-gallon buckets.
- Arrange the planted buckets andВ keep plants that will grow tallest toward the back of your garden. Leave trailing or low plants toward the front to maximize sunlight exposure and air circulation.
Certain crops can thrive even in buckets, but someВ types are easier to grow than others, like these fruits and vegetables.
Beets are nutrient-rich and they contain antioxidants andВ minerals like folate, manganese and vitamin B2.
Carrots are full of many essential vitamins and nutrients. This vegetable requires a larger pot than other crops, so choose a bucket that’s a foot-and-a-half all around.
Keep the soil for your carrots moist, but not soaked. Place moss on top of the soil to help retain moisture and make sure the leaves of the plant get enough sunlight.
Harvest carrots before they reach their maximum size they lose flavor the larger they grow. Harvest them when they are between 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch in diameter.
Chives are a low-calorie but flavorful crop.В Pair chives with potatoes for a tasty side dish with the ingredients grown right in your bucket garden.
Chives need a lot of water so check the soil daily or at least every other day. They grow within several weeks and do not need a lot of space to thrive.
Green beans grow fast, making them the perfect vegetables for indoor gardening.
Use small wooden posts to help green beans grow vertically and save more space.В Green beans are easy to grow as long as they get enough sunlight and soil moisture is maintained.
Lemon is rich in vitamins and you can use this versatile citrus fruit to make various desserts and beverages.
To grow lemonsВ indoors, keep the soil moist to simulate the humid environment that they require. Note that lemon plants can grow relatively tall, so ensure that you have enough vertical space to allow the plant to continue growing.В (Related:В Home gardening basics: 24 Plants to grow in a bucket garden.)
You can easily grow lettuce in a bucket garden since they will thriveВ in any type of shallow container. Looseleaf lettuce is the easiest variety to grow, butВ Romaine is the most nutritious.
Potatoes are a must-have in any prepper garden. This root crop isВ hearty and calorie-dense, which you’ll need when SHTF.
To ensure a bountiful harvest, leave enough vertical space for the roots to spread and for the potato buds to grow.
To grow strawberries in a bucket, give the plant plenty of sunlight. Use a bucket that’s at least 10-inches wide so the plant can thrive.
Strawberries grow quickly and they’re perfect for container gardening. Keep in mind that strawberries usually bloom between mid-summer and fall.
Even if you don’t have a spacious yard in your apartment, you canВ grow fruits and vegetables in a bucket garden to provide your family with fresh produce.