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December 2012

Cultivar Report 12.2- Varied Leaf Trial

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CropKing Admin
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Hydroponic lettuce production in the United States now encompasses a wide spectrum of lettuce types and cultivars. While Bibb cultivars still occupy a large percentage of the market, many growers are also seeking attractive and distinctive lettuce cultivars to meet consumer demand. Due to these factors, leafy cultivars, including looseleaf and Lollo Rossa types, are becoming more common in hydroponic greenhouses. However, many of these cultivars have been more often grown in soil based systems, and there is a need to better understand their performance in the greenhouse. Consistency in both productivity and timing is important for greenhouse growers, and seasonal conditions can have a large impact on cultivar performance. Trialing of available cultivars under differing environmental conditions as influenced by seasons is important in informing grower decisions. Important points of evaluation are germination and seedling quality as well as growth rate, yield and visual coloration. The goal of this set of trials was to evaluate a selection of leafy lettuce cultivars through a range of late fall, winter, and early spring conditions to evaluate their potential for greenhouse growers in the Midwest and northeast. Cultivars were obtained from a variety of seed suppliers to represent a broad selection of cultivars available to lettuce producers.