Marvel of Four Seasons Lettuce is a popular French heirloom butterhead lettuce variety. The bicolored leaves are green at the base with a rich ruby-red tone toward the edges.
Dating back to the 1800s, Marvel of Four Seasons Lettuce is known for its excellent flavor and incredible crisp yet tender texture. True to its name, this cold-hardy lettuce variety can be grown year-round in many temperate climates with the right season extension methods.
Marvel of Four Seasons lettuce
Marvel of Four Seasons lettuce is a Butterhead-type lettuce. This distinctive head-forming lettuce is an open-pollinated heirloom from France. It is also known as Merveille des Quatre Saisons Lettuce (in French).
This variety of lettuce has been around for a long time because it is easy to grow and dependable. The plants thrive in 4 to 8 hours of sun in moderate temperatures (60 – 80 degrees F). Here is a guide to growing your own lettuce in your garden.
If kept moist, this lettuce variety doesn’t go bitter and makes a great full salad. The lettuce head measures 8″-12″ in diameter, making a head perfect for a family meal. The leaves are green with red borders and wonderful for year-round salad greens.
Buying seeds for Marvel of Four Seasons lettuce
Here are some seed companies that sell seeds for growing Marvel of Four Seasons lettuce:
- Botanical Interests Marvel of Four Seasons Lettuce Seeds
- Rare Seeds Marvel of Four Seasons Lettuce Seeds
- Burpee Marvel of Four Seasons Lettuce Seeds
The above sellers offer anywhere from 200 to 1000 seeds per packet.
Planting Marvel of Four Seasons lettuce
Planting this variety of lettuce is very similar to other head lettuces. When deciding which way to plant, think about your space, your area’s climate, and any other factors that may affect lettuce growth.
Transplanting is the most recommended choice to grow full-sized lettuce heads. Direct seeding is recommended in an outdoor garden when harvesting baby lettuce greens.
Planting lettuce seeds indoors for later transplanting
Starting your seeds indoors is a cheap yet labor-intensive option because you have to transplant the seeds once the weather warms up outside. It’s a great option to ensure your seedlings are growing properly and they don’t have to compete with the weeds. Transplanting seedlings also makes it easy to space out the plants adequately.
It is advised to start your seedlings indoors between mid-February and late March. Transplant them between the end of March and the beginning of May. Exact timing depends on your temperature. Lettuce is a cool-season vegetable and does well in the spring and fall when temperatures aren’t too hot. That said, this variety is truly a ‘Marvel of Four Seasons’ and thus can be grown year-round.
Transplanting lettuce seedlings outdoors
You can purchase seedlings from the store to transplant outdoors. This is a more expensive option but a very simple one because you don’t have to start the seedlings from scratch. Heirloom varieties can be a bit tricky to find at the garden center, so shop around and also consider buying some seeds as a backup.
Transplanting is best done between mid-March and early May. The most important part of this option is to space the lettuce plants far enough apart that they can grow as full lettuce heads. This is usually about 8″ apart.
Planting lettuce seeds outdoors
This option is the cheapest option for planting your Marvel of the Four Seasons lettuce, but it can also be the trickiest. You have to ensure correct spacing so the plants can grow well and they will also have to compete with incoming weeds. If you choose this option, be sure to get a good fertilizer and weed killer that won’t affect your beloved plants.
It is recommended to plant these seeds outdoors somewhere between late March and late April. Lettuce seeds can be planted in early spring as soon as the soil has thawed and can be worked, but they do need warmer soil to germinate quickly.
Growing Marvel of Four Seasons lettuce
Ideal temperatures for growing Marvel of Four Seasons Lettuce are between 60 and 80 degrees F. Plant your lettuce in a sunny area that provides about 4 to 8 hours of sun each day.
Water them well and keep the soil moist. Many gardeners use drip irrigation to water their lettuce crops. Provide the plants with a fertilizer rich in nitrogen to help them grow strong.
How to harvest Marvel of Four Seasons lettuce
Heads of Marvel of Four Seasons lettuce take about 55 days to grow to mature size. You can harvest baby greens about 30 days after planting. Once your beautiful Marvel of Four Seasons Lettuce is fully formed and ready for harvest, you can cut off the whole head at the base.
If you just need individual leaves or a smaller supply, cut the leaves off about 1″ above the base to allow the plant to continue growing. It is best to use these leaves immediately as they will wilt otherwise.
A common method of harvesting lettuce crops is to harvest alternating heads to leave space for the others to continue growing. This way, the remaining heads have more space as they grow.
Marvel of Four Seasons is an open-pollinated lettuce variety. It can be used for saving lettuce seeds so you can keep growing this cultivar season after season.
Recipes for Marvel of Four Seasons lettuce
Marvel of Four Seasons Lettuce can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Top it with your favorite dressing and make it as a chopped salad. Some ingredients that go well with this variety of lettuce are:
- Bleu cheese
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Red wine vinaigrette
- Grilled chicken
Place the lettuce at the bottom of your dish and add any toppings that sound good to you. That’s the fun in a salad, you can’t go wrong with toppings!