Sun Devil Lettuce Care: Growing Sun Devil Lettuce Plants

By: Mary Ellen Ellis

There are so many varieties of lettuce to choose from these days, but it’s always worth going back to good old-fashioned iceberg. These crisp, refreshing lettuces are great in salad mixes but many don’t do well in hot climates. For a heat-tolerant iceberg lettuce, Sun Devil is a great choice.

About Sun Devil Lettuce Plants

Sun Devil is a type of iceberg lettuce. Also known as crisphead varieties, iceberg lettuces form tight heads of leaves that have high water content and that are crispy and have a mild flavor. Iceberg lettuces are also desirable because you can pick the whole head, and it will last unwashed in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. You can remove leaves to wash and use as needed.

The heads of Sun Devil lettuce will grow to between six and 12 inches (15 to 30 cm.) high and wide, and they produce easily and well. Sun Devil is also unique in that it is an iceberg variety that actually thrives in hot, desert climates. This is a good option for areas like southern California, Texas, and Arizona.

Enjoy your Sun Devil lettuce leaves in salads and sandwiches but also in some surprising ways. You can use the large leaves like tortillas to make tacos and wraps. You can even sear, braise, or grill quarters or halves of the lettuce head for a unique vegetable side dish.

Growing Sun Devil Lettuce

When planting Sun Devil lettuce, start from seed. You can either start seeds indoors and then transplant them outside, or you can sow the seeds directly in the ground. The choice may depend on your climate and the time of year. In the spring, start indoors before the last frost. In late summer or early fall, you sow seeds outside.

Sun Devil lettuce care includes giving your seedlings and transplants a spot with full sun and soil that drains well. Use raised beds if necessary, and amend the soil with compost to make it richer. Make sure the heads have room to grow by spacing transplants or thinning seedlings until they are 9 to 12 inches (23 to 30 cm.) apart.

Sun Devil takes about 60 days to get to maturity, so harvest your lettuce by removing the entire head when it’s ready.

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This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. provisional patent application No. 60/202,784 filed May 9, 2000 which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

1. Lettuce seed having ATCC Accession Number PTA-4008.

2. A lettuce plant produced by growing the seed of claim 1.

3. A lettuce plant having all the physiological and morphological characteristics of the lettuce plant of claim 2.

4. A method of making an F 1 hybrid lettuce plant consisting of crossing Sun Devil as a first lettuce parent plant with a second lettuce parent plant, wherein Sun Devil is grown from the seed of claim 1 harvesting the resultant F 1 hybrid seed and growing an F 1 hybrid seed into an F 1 hybrid lettuce plant.

5. Pollen of the plant of claim 2.

6. An ovule of the plant of claim 2.

7. Tissue culture of the plant of claim 2.

Planting seeds of change

How does one eat part of a mesquite tree or a cactus?

That’s the question that one panelist will be addressing at the Nov. 7 “Defend Our Food” panel at Arizona State University, focusing on how to ensure diversity in our food and access to it in the future.

“The Sonoran Desert really is a massive grocery store of stuff,” said Melissa Kruse-Peeples, an educator with Native Seeds/SEARCH Native Seeds/SEARCH is a nonprofit that, according to its mission statement, “seeks to find, protect, and preserve the seeds of the people of the Greater Southwest so that these arid adapted crops may benefit all peoples and nourish a changing world.” and an ASU alumna. “Where campus is, is ancient farm land and people have been growing food along the Salt River for nearly 4,000 years, and many of those same varieties still exist today.”

Kruse-Peeples will be one of four panelists talking about everything from urban agriculture to climate adaption of crops. Other panelists are Kenny Barrett, owner and manager of the Roosevelt Growhouse, and Netra Chhetri and Christopher Wharton of ASU's Food Systems Transformation Initiative. ASU Library, the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and Defend Our Future, a nonprofit focused on environmental defense, helped organize the panel.

For Rene Tanner, Noble Science Library life sciences librarian and unofficial keeper of ASU’s first seed library, organizing the panel was an opportunity to connect experts with those students interested in change.

“It’s not like we’re going to put our capes on and figure out how to solve this whole thing,” said Tanner, “but there are things that we can do that improve the world, improve our health and improve local communities.”

Tanner started the seed library — which officially began in 2014 — as a way to make it easier and affordable for students and staff to start their own gardens.

“I thought it would be a really nice thing to bring here to ASU because we have students who are doing gardening, and there are gardening clubs on campus,” she said. “This was a way for them to get seeds for free, and if they have a bountiful harvest they can bring seeds back — but I’m really focused on providing seeds so people can grow things.”

At any given time, the seed library contains dozens of varieties that are ready to go into the ground immediately. Tanner keeps it updated to what’s in season, including pollinators, vegetables and some fruits.

She keeps the seed library in her office those interested should email her at [email protected] to set up a time to visit.

One of the library’s most regular users? The Barrett Sustainability Club for its members and for any Barrett student that uses the honors college’s rooftop garden. Global health sophomore Syeda Umar is one of these students, using the seeds in her family’s garden plots in South Phoenix.

Syeda Umar, a Barrett honors sophomore who is studying global health, uses a hula hoe to remove grass in an area that will become a garden. She uses seeds from ASU's seed library in her family’s garden plots in South Phoenix. “The area of Phoenix that we’re in is a food desert,” said Umar. “I wanted to know where the food that I’m getting is coming from because I’m growing it.”

Photo courtesy of Syeda Umar

A view of the rooftop garden at Barrett, The Honors College, with rosemary, lettuce and other vegetables. Members of the Barrett Sustainability Club have compiled a list of 25 seeds from the ASU collection that they'll use in the garden this spring.

Photo courtesy of Syeda Umar

Some of Syeda Umar's corn at the Tiger Mountain Foundation plot in South Phoenix.

Photo courtesy of Syeda Umar

Pollinator nasturtium seeds, part of ASU's seed library at Noble Science Library in Tempe.

Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Seeds for Mexican blanket, a Southwest wildflower.

Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Seeds for pot marigolds (Calendula).

Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

A seed for the Arizona Christmas pole lima bean.

Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Black-seeded lettuce seeds.

Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

“The area of Phoenix that we’re in is a food desert The USDA defines food deserts as parts of the country lacking fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful wholefoods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers markets, and healthy food providers. ,” said Umar as she shares pictures of her knee-high corn on her phone. “I wanted to know where the food that I’m getting is coming from because I’m growing it.”

Umar and other club members have compiled a list of seeds the club will collect for spring 2018 planting since the garden is currently dormant. The list contains more than 25 seed varieties, from snow peas to spinach to sunflowers.

“We’re hoping to encourage a love of gardening as a pastime and a connection with nature for the students because it’s a really great stress reliever,” Umar said.

Librarian Tanner hopes the panel will help connect interested students like Umar with experts so they can ask questions and decide how they will use and grow food in the future.

For Kruse-Peeples, who graduated from ASU in 2013 after researching the agricultural processes of ancient Arizona, value lies in revisiting the past.

“All people were farmers and gatherers and were very connected to their food, but today very few people have any idea of how the food actually gets to your plate,” she said. “So we’re sort of relearning what has really been a part of our history of who we are as humans for most of our existence.”

‘Defend Our Food’

What: Lunch and conversation with local food experts to learn about how to make local agriculture and community and home gardening part of your life.

When: noon-2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Where: Hayden Library, room C55, Tempe campus.

Details: Free. Garden seeds from ASU’s seed library will also be available. Find more information, as well as how to RSVP, on ASU Events.

Top photo: Jalapeño seeds on a fingertip. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Voksende Sun Devil Salat

Når du planter Sun Devil salat, start fra frø. Du kan enten starte frø innendørs og deretter transplantere dem ute, eller så kan du så frøene direkte i bakken. Valget kan avhenge av klimaet ditt og årstiden. Om våren, start innendørs før siste frost. På sensommeren eller tidlig på høsten sår du frø utenfor.

Sun Devil salatpleie inkluderer å gi plantene og transplantasjonene dine et sted med full sol og jord som drenerer godt. Bruk hevede senger om nødvendig, og juster jorden med kompost for å gjøre den rikere. Forsikre deg om at hodene har plass til å vokse ved å plassere mellom transplantasjoner eller tynne frøplanter til de er 23 til 30 cm fra hverandre.

Sun Devil tar omtrent 60 dager å komme til modenhet, så høst salat ved å fjerne hele hodet når det er klart.

Summer Crisp Lettuce Varieties

Cherokee: Deepest red of the summer crisp varieties similar to Magenta other than darker color and less sweetness. Slow to bolt, tolerates bottom rot, very tolerant of heat. Highly resistant of downy mildew types EU 16, 21, 23, 32, and US 5–6. 48 days to maturity.

Concept: Open growth habit with meaty, loosely ruffled leaves that resemble both loose leaf and Romaine varieties. Vase shape is unique among lettuces prized for excellent flavor. 51 days to maturity.

Ice Queen (Reine des Glaces): Extremely jagged edges give leaves a unique appearance. Tolerates frost as well as heat and is slow to bolt. Sometimes classified as iceberg. 62 days to maturity, or can be picked early as a baby lettuce.

Magenta: Shiny two-tone leaves are lightly folded and surround a crisp green heart. Intermediate resistance to lettuce mosaic virus high resistance to downy mildew types EU 16, 21, 23, and 32. Tolerates bolting, tip burn, and bottom rot. 48 days to maturity.

Muir: Really a Batavian, but forms dense heads that can be picked early as miniature or left to grow to full size. Tender leaves known for excellent flavor. A favorite in hydroponic gardens. Highly resistant to downy mildew types EU 16–26, EU 28, EU 32, and US 1–9, Nasonovia nibisnigri aphid, and tomato bushy stunt virus (lettuce dieback complex) intermediate resistance of lettuce mosaic virus. 50 days to maturity.

We’ve given you a hefty list of lettuce varieties, but it’s nowhere near the more than 1,000 varieties you’ll find in seed catalogs to sift through. Now that we’ve given you the rundown of the butterhead, crisphead, loose leaf, Romaine, and summercrisp categories and recommended the best lettuces to choose from in each type, you’re ready to make your shopping list for next season. In no time, you’ll be harvesting the lettuces you’ve chosen and preparing a gourmet salad from your own garden.

Watch the video: THE GARDEN.. My Northern Garden

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