Green leafy Lettuce also called “CheongSangChu (청상추), along with perilla, is the most used raw vegetable in Korean cuisine. Contrary to the fact that Perilla is preferred because of its unique flavor, lettuce has no particular taste, so it is popular as a leafy vegetable wrapped in meat. Korean lettuce wraps are eaten wrapped in raw vegetables and cooked meat, which are rarely found in food cultures of other countries.
Lettuce wraps, which Koreans enjoy, are now a supporting role attached to the side of the meat, but originally, it was a custom of wrapping a fortune and eating it. Fresh lettuce grown by ourselves and barley rice with ssamjang served with ssamjang was the basis of a healthy diet for our ancestors. Lettuce supplements vitamin C, beta-carotene, and fiber, which are lacking in meat, prevent cholesterol from accumulating in the body and purify the blood.
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■ Scientific Name: Lactuca sativa L.
■ Classification: Asteraceae
■ English Name: Green Leaf Lettuce
■ Korean Name: 상추 (SangChu)
■ Origin: Western Asia, Mediterranean
■ Cultivation Condition:
ㅇ Intensity of Sunlight: The length of the day is not a problem for cultivation, and although it can tolerate even if the amount of sunlight is somewhat insufficient, it is better to manage it so that it receives enough sunlight as possible.
ㅇ Soil Conditions: It has very good adaptability to the soil, so it can be cultivated in any soil with sufficient ventilation and moisture content.
ㅇ Soil Acidity: The optimum soil acidity is pH 6.6 to 7.2, and growth is reduced in acidic soils below 5.
■ Physiological Characteristics:
ㅇ Lettuce is a cool-growing vegetable that grows well in cool climates, and its resistance to heat is weak.
ㅇ When the temperature rises during the growing season, the bitter taste increases and it is easy to get various diseases.
■ Sowing and Planting Seedlings:
ㅇ Gremination Temperature: 60-75˚F / 15-24˚C
ㅇ Seed Depth: ¼ – ½”/ 0.6 cm – 1.2 cm
ㅇ Seed Spacing: 1 – 2″ / 2.5 cm – 5 cm
ㅇ Plant Spacing: 4 – 6″ / 10 cm – 15 cm
ㅇ Row Distance: 14 – 20″ / 36 cm – 50 cm
ㅇ Maturity Days: 30 Days
■ How to Grow:
ㅇ Sowing and Seeding:
– When sown directly in the vegetable garden, make 8″/20cm troughs on the cultivation bed and sown in rows.
– When growing seedlings, sow at 1 – 2″ / 2.5 – 6cm intervals on the seedlings.
– When sowing, lettuce seeds like light, so after planting the seeds, cover them with a thin layer of soil to increase the germination rate. It can be transplanted into the garden in about a month after sowing.
ㅇ Transplanting in the Field:
– In the field where lettuce is to be planted, put in the base manure before transplanting, then plow the field, select the land, and make a ridge. Also, mulching black vinyl is a good way to reduce weeding effort.
– The proper planting interval is 8 x 6″ / 20×15cm for leaf-picking lettuce, and if you want to plant it narrower, you can plant it up to 6 x 6″ / 15×15cm or 4 x 6″ / 10×15cm.
■ Fertilization and Care
ㅇ Lettuce has a shorter growing period than other crops, but it is a crop that cannot be ignored. Especially in summer cultivation, if fertilizer is insufficient, planting will be quicker, so you should not neglect the base and top fertilizer.
ㅇ Water enough in the morning or in the evening, but if you water before harvesting, the soil will come out and the leaves will become dirty.
Therefore, water after harvest.
■ Menstrual Disorders and Pest Management
ㅇ Although there are sclerotia, powdery mildew, and downy mildew diseases that mainly occur on lettuce, you do not need to worry too much about the occurrence of diseases if you grow them in a garden.
ㅇ Aphids sometimes attack, but it is possible to produce lettuce without the occurrence of diseases and pests by planting a rather wide spacing between plants to receive good ventilation and sunlight, and not re-planting in the same place where it was planted last year.
❍ Leaf lettuce can be harvested about 30 days after planting.
❍ When the seedlings are established and begin to show vigorous growth, the outer leaves are plucked and harvested.
❍ When the flower stalk comes up and can see the flower bud, pick something to eat and pull it out.
■ Nutritional Value :
❍ Lettuce contains a component called lactucarium, which is effective for insomnia and irritability.
❍ It purifies the blood and is good for constipation as it is rich in anemia and fiber.
❍ Green lettuce contains chlorophyll called chlorophyll, and red lettuce contains a pigment called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant and cancer-preventing effects.
■ Use & Tip:
❍ The leaves are mainly used as ssam or pickled vegetables.
❍ Salad, Side-dishes, Jeon, To Wrap with Korean B.B.Q, Garnish, Soup, Etc.
❍ Tip. Store leftover lettuce like this.
When washing the lettuce, rinse it with purified water (cold water is preferred) at the end, and then drain the water by putting it on a colander. Then put it in a plastic bag and tie it up or store it in an airtight container.