Lactuca sativa ‘Winter Density’

Except you regularly experiment with totally different lettuce varieties, it may be simple to suppose that there isn’t that a lot distinction between them.

However then you definately chunk into ‘Winter Density,’ and it’s like opening the door to a hidden world.

‘Winter Density’ has a juicy, crisp texture and a candy taste that stands out out of your frequent store-bought romaine.

Plus, it’s so adaptable and simple to develop which you can pop some seeds within the floor and mainly neglect about it till it’s time to benefit from the leaves.

A horizontal close up of several young, green winter density lettuce plants.

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In case you’ve grown lettuce earlier than, then you recognize the routine – if not, make sure to try our information to rising lettuce for all of the fundamentals. ‘Winter Density’ doesn’t require any particular care – or a lot care in any respect.

Arising, this information will cowl all the pieces it’s good to know, together with:

Cultivation and Historical past

Nobody is certain precisely the place this improbable cultivar got here from, although we all know it was bred within the 1800s in England.

It was launched to France and have become wildly common there within the late 1800s and early 1900s.

‘Winter Density’ is a cross between a butterhead and a romaine lettuce, with eight-inch-tall heads that mature in about 55 to 65 days.

It has an upright progress behavior and a dense coronary heart. It’s tolerant of frost and can produce properly even in partial solar. It gained’t bolt in average warmth or a freeze, both.

You may additionally see it marketed as ‘Craquerelle du Midi’ or ‘Craquante D’Avignon.’

After harvest, the heads can last as long as every week when saved correctly, which is longer than most lettuce cultivars.

‘Winter Density’ Propagation

Lettuce needs to be planted immediately outdoor within the spring, or within the fall when the climate is cool, however there are nonetheless sufficient freeze-free days predicted within the forecast for the crops to mature.

You may typically begin harvesting your ‘Winter Density’ in round 55 days, so plan accordingly.

This lettuce grows compact and upright, so you’ll be able to squeeze fairly a couple of right into a small space.

From Seed

You may select to direct-sow ‘Winter Density’ seed into the backyard or if you wish to get a head begin, you can begin seeds indoors in containers for transplanting.

A horizontal close up of a metal tray with several white, oblong lettuce seeds.
Picture by Kristine Lofgren.

To direct sow seeds, put together your backyard mattress by working in loads of well-rotted compost.

I consider compost because the do-it-all soil modification. It aids water retention, provides vitamins, and improves drainage. Amending with compost could make sandy soil extra water-retentive and enhance drainage in clay.

Sow the seeds about 4 inches aside. Both place them on the highest of the soil or simply cowl them with an eighth of an inch of soil. The seeds want gentle to germinate, so don’t bury them too deep.

The problem is to maintain the seeds moist when you anticipate them to germinate. When seeds sit on the highest of the soil, they have an inclination to dry out shortly. Within the absence of rain, ensure to maintain the soil evenly moist.

In case you want to begin seeds indoors, fill a seed tray with a seed-starting medium, and sow the seeds on the floor of the medium, and preserve it moist. It’s possible you’ll have to mist them a few times a day to keep up ample moisture.

The seeds want about six hours or extra of sunshine per day, so present supplemental lighting for those who don’t have a spot with sufficient gentle in your indoor seeds.

A horizontal close up of a winter density lettuce seedling with three leaves, and several small leaflets emerging.
Picture by Kristine Lofgren.

You may transfer the seedlings outdoor once they have at the least two true leaves and as quickly because the soil may be labored.

‘Winter Density’ doesn’t thoughts somewhat frost, however the soil can’t be too soggy and moist. Earlier than you transplant, harden the seedlings off a bit.

Hardening off is the method of step by step exposing the crops to the rising situations outdoor so that they aren’t shocked by the transition from the comfortable indoor surroundings to the skin world.


Transplanting ‘Winter Density’ seedlings began indoors or bought from a nursery is fairly easy.

A horizontal close up of a gardener's hands dividing young winter density lettuce seedlings and preparing to plant them in rich, dark garden soil.
Picture by Kristine Lofgren.

Put together the bottom as described above, then dig holes the identical depth and width because the containers the crops are presently rising in, spacing them 4 inches aside.

Gently take away every lettuce seedling from its container and thoroughly place it within the gap. Agency the soil up round it and water the soil effectively.

Preserve the bottom moist however not waterlogged because the lettuce crops develop.

Tips on how to Develop ‘Winter Density’ Lettuce

‘Winter Density’ does finest in full solar, although afternoon shade is ok as effectively.

In truth, for those who reside in a area that may get a shock scorching spell in the course of the fall or spring, somewhat afternoon shade could be a good factor. I’ve been identified to place umbrellas over my crops throughout sudden heatwaves.

A vertical shot of several winter density lettuce seedlings in a row, freshly planted in rich garden soil.
Picture by Kristine Lofgren.

It’s essential to maintain the soil moist and funky. Whereas ‘Winter Density’ gained’t often bolt in heat climate, warmth could make the leaves bitter.

Any lettuce will bolt in an excessive amount of warmth, since they’re cool-weather crops, however this cultivar is a little more tolerant to heat than many different varieties.

Defending the roots with mulch can assist stop bitterness and bolting. I prefer to heap some straw round my lettuce crops to maintain the roots cool and assist the soil retain moisture.

Attempt to preserve the soil moist however not soaking moist. If the soil is soggy, it should result in issues like root rot. Permitting it to dry out may cause stunted progress and difficult, bitter leaves.

A horizontal photo of young, green and healthy lettuce seedlings planted in rows in a garden.

You may inform when you have the correct amount of moisture by sticking your finger within the soil. It ought to really feel like a well-wrung-out sponge all the way in which down.

While you add moisture, make sure to water at soil degree and take a look at to not splash water on the leaves. You would possibly need to use a soaker hose, which is right for irrigating lettuce.

In case you labored in loads of compost at planting time, then there isn’t a want so as to add further fertilizer.

Due to its compact progress behavior, this cultivar additionally grows effectively in container gardens or in spots the place you don’t have a ton of room.

You may be taught extra about rising lettuce in containers in our information.

Rising Suggestions

Plant in full solar or partial afternoon shade.
Amend the soil with compost at planting time.
Preserve the soil persistently moist.


Preserve weeds distant, particularly whereas your crops are younger. Weeds compete for water and vitamins and may smother seedlings. In addition they act as hosts to pests and illness.

If any outer leaves are broken or collapse, be at liberty to tug them off.

In any other case, you’ll be able to type of neglect about ‘Winter Density’ lettuce till they’re prepared for harvest.

The place to Purchase ‘Winter Density’ Lettuce

‘Winter Density’ is a reasonably frequent cultivar and you’ll find it at many retailers.

For instance, Excessive Mowing Natural Seeds carries seeds in 1/32, one-eighth, half, or two ounce packets or half or one pound containers.

Managing Pests and Illness

Typically proof against most pests and ailments, burdened crops is likely to be infested by aphids. 

They’re additionally topic to feeding by cabbage worms, flea beetles, and cabbage loopers. In case you discover small, ragged holes within the middle of the leaf, it’s in all probability one in every of these pests.

A horizontal close up of several aphids along the center vein of a leaf.

After which there are the dreaded slugs and snails. By far, these are the most typical pests I face annually.

I exploit pellets to manage them, however if you’d like some wonderful suggestions and different administration strategies, go to our information.

I discover that when my crops get previous the seedling stage visiting pests gained’t hassle them that a lot. If you wish to keep away from the entire drawback altogether, use floating row covers.

‘Winter Density’ is proof against most fungal ailments, however it’s not proof against something. Go to our information to lettuce ailments to be taught what to observe for.

Bacterial leaf spot, damping off, downy mildew, and lettuce mosaic virus are the key points it’s attainable to come across.


Beginning at about 55 days, you’ll be able to harvest the heads as wanted.

You may depart the crops within the backyard so long as they don’t begin to bolt, so it’s finest to reap while you’re able to eat them and never sooner.

Whereas the heads retailer effectively within the fridge for over every week, they’ll final even longer within the backyard.

A horizontal photo of a gardener's hands harvesting lettuce in the garden.

The simplest method to harvest is to take a pointy knife and reduce the plant at its base, as near the soil as you’ll be able to.

After I want to reap a number of heads and I do know I gained’t be capable to eat them unexpectedly, similar to when a heatwave or heavy snow is coming, I’ll dig down and take up among the roots with the plant.

Having some roots connected retains the top brisker for longer.


Wrap your complete head in a paper towel or cotton material and retailer it within the crisper drawer of the fridge.

In case you harvested the heads with some roots connected, wrap these in a moist paper towel.

The pinnacle ought to final for every week to 10 days with out the roots, and as much as two weeks with the roots intact.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Sort:Annual vegetableTolerance:Some warmth, frost

Origins:Mediterranean regionMaintenance:Low

Hardiness (USDA Zone):3-11Soil Sort:Free, wealthy

Season:Spring, fall, winterSoil pH:6.0-7.0

Publicity:Full solar to partial sunSoil Drainage:Nicely-draining

Time to Maturity:55 daysCompanion Planting:Asparagus, beets, carrots, cucumbers, garlic, marigolds, mint, onions, parsnips, peas, radishes, strawberries

Spacing:4 inchesAvoid Planting With:Brassicas

Planting Depth:Floor to ⅛ inch (seeds), similar depth as rising container (transplants)Order:Asterales

Top:8 inchesFamily:Asteraceae

Unfold:8 inchesGenus:Lactuca

Water Wants:ModerateSpecies:Sativa

Widespread Pests and Illnesses:Aphids, cabbage worms, flea beetles, loopers; Bacterial leaf spot, damping off, downy mildew, lettuce mosaic virusCultivar:Winter Density

Winter is Fantastic

A backyard stuffed with ‘Winter Density’ lettuce is my thought of a winter wonderland.

The leaves are crispy and candy, with a juicy snap that calls to me each within the canine days of summer season and the center of winter.

Are you rising ‘Winter Density?’ Tell us within the feedback part beneath!

And for extra details about rising different varieties of lettuce in your backyard, try these guides subsequent:

Picture by Kristine Lofgren © Ask the Consultants, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for extra particulars. Product picture by way of Excessive Mowing Natural Seeds. Uncredited pictures: Shutterstock.

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