Corn Salad: Dutch (Valerianella olitoria)
Dutch Corn Salad is an annual cool weather vegetable that got its name due to its habit of growing wild in corn fields. It is also known as Lamb’s lettuce and dates back to the Stone Age. It is best known for its ability to thrive in colder weather than other greens and for its savory nutty flavor. Dutch Corn Salad produces 3” leaves are the perfect addition to any salad and can also be used as a garnish.
Harvesting & Storage
Also Known As: Lamb's Lettuce, Lamb's Lettuce, Nut Lettuce, Field Salad, Rapunzel, Mache, and Doucette.
Native Range: Europe
Ease of Growing: Moderate
Grown as: Annual
Days to Maturity: 50 (Spring/Summer), 90-100 (Fall/Winter)
Hardiness: Hardy. Corn Salad is exceptionally hardy and tolerates frost.
Crops: Spring, Fall
Growing Season: Long. Corn Salad needs a good supply of moisture and regular weeding. It does best in cooler climates.
Growing Conditions: Cold, Cool
Outdoor Growing Temp: 40°F - 65°F
Min Outdoor Soil Temp: 45°F. Corn Salad actually prefers cool weather, but germination can be slow (be patient).
Start Indoors: No
Start Outdoors: Yes
Light: Full Sun, min. 6 hours daily (Cool). In cool weather the plants will need full sun for most rapid growth.
Water: High. These fast-growing plants must have all of the water they need for rapid growth. It is important that the soil is kept moist at all times.
Feeder: Light. These greens grow quickly and for best growth and flavor they should have all of the nutrients readily available, which means the soil needs to be fairly fertile. Their main requirement is for nitrogen, but they also need moderate amounts of potassium and phosphorus.
Suitability: Tolerates light frost
Small Gardens?: Yes
Containers?: Yes. Corn Sald is very well suited for container growing. Choose a container that has a minimum depth of 4". Make sure that your container has at least one drainage hole. Fill with a mixture of potting soil and compost and water thoroughly. Place in full sun. Make sure to keep the soil consistently moist.
Attracts beneficial insects?: No
Plant Height: 16"
Spacing: 1" apart, in rows 8-10" apart.
Sow Depth: 1/2"
Hardiness Zone: 3-12
Suggested Use: Use fresh in salads.
Soil pH: 6.0-7.0, Ideal 6.3-6.5. The soil is called upon to produce a lot of foliage in a short time, so it should be fertile, moisture retentive and well drained.
Additional fertilizer in the form of standard mix should be incorporated along with the compost, to supply additional nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and other nutrients.
Prepare the soil by adding 2˝ of compost or aged manure. This does not need to be dug in very deeply, as most types have quite shallow-roots (most of the roots will be concentrated in the top 4˝ to 8˝ of soil).
For very early crops you might want to prepare the soil the previous fall.
When outdoor temp: 40°F to 65°F, optimal temp 50°F to 60°F
When min soil temp: 45°F. Corn salad actually prefers cool weather, but germination can be slow (be patient).
Seed Depth: 1/4"-1/2". Plant the seed 1/4 to 1/2" deep.
Spacing: 2-3", 16 plants per sq ft.
4-6 weeks before last frost date. In cool climates Corn salad is often grown as a spring crop (it is the first crop to go in the ground in spring). However it tends to bolt as soon as the weather gets warm.
10-12 weeks before first frost date. Corn salad prefers to grow in cool weather and really does best when planted in early fall, to grow through the winter. In the coldest climates it can be grown in a cold frame or under row covers. However you have to be careful it doesn't get too warm or this may cause it to bolt.
Corn salad is sometimes sown in fall for a spring crop.
Water Needs: High. These fast-growing plants must have all of the water they need for rapid growth. It is important that the soil is kept moist at all times.
Fertilizer Needs: Light. These greens grow quickly and for best growth and flavor they should have all of the nutrients readily available, which means the soil needs to be fairly fertile. Their main requirement is for nitrogen, but they also need moderate amounts of potassium and phosphorus.
Watering, regularly: Keep the soil evenly moist at all times. These greens are delicate and do not like to dry out. Good watering practices can help offset the negative effects of summer heat, so it is important to keep the soil constantly moist. In hot weather this may mean watering every day.
Watering also depends on your local weather; don't water if it's raining, or water more frequently if it's dry. Just be sure to keep soil moist for the best crop. The best way to know how much moisture is in your soil is to feel 2" below the soil line. If it's dry, water.
Side Dressing, regularly: If your soil is not as rich as it could be, or if the soil is cool, give the plants a feed of compost tea or liquid kelp every 3 weeks or so.
Thinning, when 4" tall: You can plant these greens closer together than the variety requirements and then thin them out as they grow (eat the thinnings).
Mature plants form a rosette of leaves that measures 3 to 5 inches across.
Storage Req: Refrigerator
Storage Temp: 35-40°F
Storage Length: 1-5 days
Seed Viability in Years: 2 - 5 Years
Germination Percentage: 80%
Sweet, mild and slightly nutty.
A nutty flavored, tender, delicate green leaf makes a wonderful addition to a salad or it can be the main ingredient in a salad.
Edible parts of Corn Salad:
Young leaves: raw. A very mild flavor, with a delicate quality that makes them seem to melt in the mouth, they can be added in quantity to salads. The leaves can be available all year round from successional sowings and will only require protection in the colder winters.
Flowers and flowering stems: raw.
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