There are many lettuces, varied in color, shape, flavor, crunchiness … depending on the growing season, the climate or the terrain are better than others, but in general it is a very grateful crop. In this post we talk about one of the most famous varieties of lettuce that we can buy today. Batavia lettuce. A lettuce with a light, curly, somewhat fleshy leaf that is very popular.
Batavia lettuce is just one variety within the Lactuca sativa species. Among the commercial lettuces there are dozens such as iceberg, trocadero, romaine, simpson, oak leaf, lollo rosso and many more. We invite you to see the entry of the 13 types of lettuce that you can plant in the garden. In this article we briefly explain the properties of each lettuce that make them different from the rest. Good for texture, color, rusticity in cultivation, nutritional composition, etc.
We already tell you that one of the most nutritional is romaine lettuce and it can also be grown all year round thanks to its rusticity. For this reason it is perhaps the most cultivated. The iceberg is widely cultivated for its toughness properties against mechanical stress. It is the one that is exported the most. As it is rolled, it is a lettuce that withstands the rattles of transport well, loses less turgor, but I particularly think that its flavor is very weak.
But today we get into Batavia lettuce and we will see, first of all, its characteristics and why we do not see it more often on the supermarket or store shelves.
CHARACTERISTICS AND EVOLUTION OF BATAVIA LETTUCE
Although lettuce tends to be a rather simple vegetable, once you start to try varieties you enter a world that you did not even imagine. To summarize, one of the things that are usually evaluated in lettuces is:
- Color : A bright green that gives the eye. It is very attractive and really gives a feeling of true freshness.
- Crispy: There are very “Crispy” lettuces and others less. Batavia lettuce is not the crunchiest due to its buttery as we will now see. It is considered semi-crisp.
- Leaf buttery : Here the bite texture of the leaf is measured. We could put the iceberg at the ends as the least buttery and the trocadero as the most buttery. Batavia lettuce is on the buttery side and likes it. It creaks less but the feeling is nice.
- Acidity / bitterness: It has a slightly acidic and fresh touch. It is very famous for its good taste. There are softer lettuce (iceberg) and others more intense like Romana.
- Sweetness : Some are sweeter than others. This is not the case in Batavia.
- Aspect : Luckily or misfortune, food enters our eyes first and in any vegetable it is something that is sought. The same thing happens in Batavia lettuce. There are open, closed, semi-open varieties, more curly, less …
- Resistance to oxidation : It is a factor that sins. It oxidizes easily and loses turgor quickly. It is a lettuce to consume it in a short time. It goes limp very fast.
The Batavia lettuce variety has not evolved much since its introduction to the market. Of course, seed houses strive to achieve a differentiating product and according to what the market is asking for. These modifications are among toras:
- Look for similarity in shape, flavor, and agronomic characteristics in either winter or summer cultivars. This is because consumers do not think in winter or summer. We buy lettuces and we have them all year round. This is a challenge for producers because there are varieties more prone to one season than another and they always force the machinery to offer similar varieties from Batavia at any time of the year.
- Resistance to pests and diseases . Given that transgenic cultivation is prohibited in Europe, genetic variations and resistance to diseases is achieved by backcrossing varieties for several generations until obtaining cultivars with an acceptable level of resistance without modifying the other organoleptic and agronomic characteristics. Mainly genetic improvement is done to avoid sclerotinia or mildew ( Bremia lectucae ).
- Achieve different aspects as a differentiating element. Batavia lettuce is originally a head lettuce. Well, we also have semi-open or open varieties, with the leaves with more vertical growth, less crowded.
- Get a development in the shortest time possible. This is another great workhorse for geneticists and producers. Although the development time depends mainly on climatic conditions, something can be done to make the variety somewhat faster in growth. To give you an idea, lettuces have development margins of between 45 days and 90 approx. depending on the climate, the variety etc.
BATAVIA LETTUCE CULTIVATION
The truth is that growing one variety or another of lettuce does not change much the general cultivation guidelines but we can make certain nuances. First we recommend that you read the article devoted entirely to the cultivation of lettuce and now, in addition to making a short summary, we give you 4 more brushstrokes about its cultivation peculiarities.
THE SEEDBED IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE
In the cultivation of lettuce, it germinates with protection in the seedbed and makes a transplant or picking . Germination of lettuce requires a temperature of about 18-20ºC. Once the plant has developed a true leaf, it is considered a seedling and then we will proceed to the grounding.
TEMPERATURE AND LIGHT
The thermal ranges of Batavia lettuce can be considered cool. It is considered to be grown in autumn and winter in mild areas such as the Levant and the greenhouse in the north (Navarra). In summer it can be grown outdoors in not hot areas. We will see a special case at the end of the article about it.
Lettuce in general requires thermal contrasts between day and night and Batavia is no exception:
- Thermal range during the day : 14-18ºC
- Thermal range during the night : 4-8ºC
Lettuce growth usually stops at 6ºC. This is the lower limit of its thermal integral as we have already mentioned on other occasions. And speaking of thermal integral, the upper limit is usually 30ºC, but in this case it is much lower. We have already said that it is a “fresh” lettuce. If we get to high temperatures we favor the heading or also called rise to flower. Batavia lettuce is not a very cold resistant lettuce like other varieties. Cold damage is below 0ºC.
Requires full exposure to light for optimal growth.
SOIL AND FERTILIZER
It is very tolerant of soil types and is not demanding in its nutrition. We can go to a very normal soil, with a loamy texture with good drainage and at the same time a good water retention capacity. This balance is not easy to achieve sometimes. We say good drainage because the soils flooded in lettuce are disastrous. Fungal diseases come hand in hand and spoil a lot of production.
On the other hand, it is also good that it retains a certain amount of water since the roots of lettuce are many but very superficial, those of the batavia and those of all lettuces. A normal amount of organic matter in the soil (around 1.5-3%) is more than enough for its cultivation. In commercial crops, the values can be adjusted for greater leaf production. It is usually paid with a higher proportion of potassium nitrate in the macronutrients.
The planting frame is around 30-40cm, about 5-7 plants per square meter, although with good nutrition, the frame can be reduced to achieve a higher yield per hectare .
Taking into account the previous balance, Batavia lettuce needs little copious and frequent waterings. That is, a high availability to maintain turgor in the tissues, without flooding and saturating the soil to avoid the typical diseases that we will now see.
PESTS AND DISEASES OF BATAVIA LETTUCE
There is no specific disease. It suffers from those common to all lettuces and almost all are of fungal origin:
- Mildew ( Bremia lactucae ): One of the fungal diseases that affects the most. There needs to be a high environmental humidity to favor the development of the fungus. Leaves brown spots on the blade that spoil the final product.
- Sclerotinia ( Sclerotinia sclerotiorum ): Another of the most famous diseases of lettuce. It appears at the base of the plant. Due to excess moisture in the soil.
- Gray rot ( Botrytis cinerea ): This disease is one of the most common in many crops, not just lettuce. Very closely watched, for example in grape cultivation. A gray mold appears on the lettuce leaf that eventually spreads and rot all the bud.
- Alternaria : ( Alternaria spp .): Famous cryptogamic disease that also occurs in high humidity.
The most common pests are:
- White fly
- Leaf miners
- Gray worm
You have everything much more detailed in the article on pests and diseases of lettuce .
BATAVIA LETTUCE PROPERTIES
Although lettuce contains more than 95% water in its composition, the truth is that it has a series of nutritional properties that make it very healthy. And we have to bear in mind that although the whitest parts are more tender and crunchy, they are the least nutritious. The nutritional substance of lettuce is found in the green parts.
- First for its low caloric intake . The contribution in fats, carbohydrates or proteins is minimal.
- For its high content of vitamin C and K among other vitamins. That gives it a high antioxidant power.
- High content of folic acid . Indispensable element. Its lack causes anemia.
- In minerals it is not the food that contains the most, but certain amounts of iron, potassium, calcium and phosphorus stand out .
ARE THERE LETTUCES WITH A DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN?
Well, with a designation of origin as such, no, but we have the case of a lettuce that has managed to impose itself as a Guarantee Mark, the only one in Spain, another quality seal that guarantees a form of cultivation, a specific plant material and a geographical limit of cultivation .
This is the case of lettuce from Medina , north of Burgos, characterized by being cultivated in the summer months, when open cultivation can already be done, without greenhouses and night temperatures do not drop below 5ºC and daytime temperatures do not exceed 25ºC. One of the reasons for its quality is the thermal contrast between day and night. Warm days and cool nights that mark the quality of development and flavor of this lettuce.
This lettuce includes two varieties, the oak leaf lettuce and the one we are talking about today, the Batavia lettuce.