The celtuce is a form of lettuce with a longer and thicker central stem, cultivated for its edible leaves and stems. It takes 3 - 4 months from sowing before the stems are ready to harvest.
A surface-rooting plant, the roots can be damaged by hoeing.
A good companion for strawberries, carrots, radishes and onions.
Prefers a light sandy loam. Succeeds in most well-drained, humus-rich soils but dislikes acid conditions. Prefers some shade in the summer to slow down the plants tendency to go to seed and to prevent the leaves becoming bitter.
Plants can resist some frost, they can also tolerate temperatures in excess of 27°c. They are fairly resistant to bolting, though they can run to seed prematurely in very hot conditions.
Sow March to June in situ. Seedlings can be transplanted. Seed becomes dormant at temperatures above 27°c.
Leaves - raw or cooked. A mild, slightly sweet flavour, they are rather more coarse than ordinary lettuce, though they make an acceptable ingredient in mixed salads. Old leaves become coarser and bitter. Stem - raw or cooked. Thick, tender, crisp and juicy, its flavour is variously described as being like lettuce, celery, artichoke, squash, asparagus or chard. It is usually peeled before being used. The stems can be harvested just before the plants flower without them turning bitter, though they might become hollow at this stage.