I am going out to the cold frame this afternoon to pick the first lettuce of the year. The plants were started in October and transplanted to the cold frame after 30 days in cell trays. They only had time to establish themselves before the short days and cold temperatures stopped their growth. Now that the days are getting longer, and with the help of the January thaw, they have grown enough to pick.
As a general rule, lettuce varieties with red in the leaves, and those with extremely "savoyed," or finely divided, leaves, have the greatest cold tolerance. Given our experience with these three, savoyed leaves may trump red pigment.
Last month, we started more seeds of Ashley. After the plants shown here are harvested, we will add some cottonseed meal to the bed and replant. We will soon start more seeds, of some different lettuce cultivars, to be transplanted outside the cold frame in March.