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Saving seed. Heirloom lettuce Sanguine Ameliore

Updated on October 28, 2015
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I inherited my love of gardening from mother and grandmother. I am a garden blogger, freelance writer, and Master Gardener emeritus.

Sanguine Ameliore

Strawberry Cabbage lettuce. A soft, butterhead green leaf with red speckles.
Strawberry Cabbage lettuce. A soft, butterhead green leaf with red speckles. | Source

Sanguine Ameliore lettuce bolted

Sanguine Ameliore is a colorful, rare French lettuce.
Sanguine Ameliore is a colorful, rare French lettuce. | Source

Saving your favorite Lettuce seed

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)

Saving seed from your garden is easy. Create custom varieties of flowers and vegetables that grow best in your own garden. Use these simple seed saving techniques to collect, label and store seeds.

Become more food self-sufficient, save money and, create the custom varieties that grow best in your garden. Saving seed of the best vegetables or flowers will help you grow even better plants year after year.

As you select the best plants year after year, it creates a sub-variety of crops that are especially suited to your garden’s climate and soil. After repeated sowing and seed collection, I like to think my home grown seeds are especially hardy in this region.

It's also the best way to get more hard-to-find Sanguine Ameliore lettuce seed. I first ordered this seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. When I went to order more, it was no longer listed.

Also find it at Seed Savers Exchange Because my lettuce had already bolted, I decided to try and save my own rare Sanguine Ameliore lettuce. Saving greens like lettuce, spinach or arugula is simple and easy.

According to the Seed Savers Exchange, this is a “Rare French variety introduced in 1906 by C.C. Morse & Co. as Strawberry Cabbage Lettuce. Stunning sanguine or blood red speckles.”

This “Strawberry Cabbage Lettuce” is great mixed with mesclun or other salad greens such as arugula or frisee. Harvested as baby lettuce, each head can be served as an individual salad. *Mesclun isn't the name of a plant, it is a combination of lettuce greens.

Dry and save the small white seed

As seed dries, gently blow away the chaf, saving the small white lettuce seed.
As seed dries, gently blow away the chaf, saving the small white lettuce seed. | Source

How to save Strawberry Cabbage lettuce

Sow Seed

These beautiful, tender butterhead lettuces average 7" in diameter. Start seed in early spring and continue to sow every week until hot weather causes lettuce plants to bolt and grow seed stalks. Lettuce can be harvested 60 days from gemination.

Sow seed ¼” deep and six inches apart. Lettuce likes full sun or partial shade. Keep seed bed moist but not wet.

Collect Seed

When plants bolt, let a few to continue to grow and bloom. Pull up any other Sanguine Ameliore lettuce plants, they will be bitter. Once plants go to seed they will feathery.

After lettuce blooms, each of its tiny flowers produces a seed. Each seed is attached to a stem with white fluffy threads. Those threads carry the seed away from the mother plant, much like a fuzzy ball of dandelion seed.

Brush those feathery seed into a clean paper bag, or onto a flat surface (like a sheet of paper or cookie sheet). Once those seed are collected, allow them to dry in the open air for a few days. You can then gently blow away the chaff from the small white seed.

Save Seed

Once lettuce seed is dry, there are three things it needs: cool, dry, dark storage. I use snack size plastic zip bags, or paper coin envelopes. Store the envelopes in a recipe file box, closet or desk drawer. Damp potting sheds or musty tool rooms are not a good idea.

Label the zip lock bag or envelope. Include any special growing instructions like “Slow to germinate. Continue to water seeds in soil mix,” “7-10 days to germination” or, “Sow very thinly. Give seeds plenty of growing space.” You think you will remember, but all the lettuce varieties will look a like next spring.

Keep Cool, Dry and, in the Dark.

You might like:

How To Save Leftover Seed Packets

Seed collected from home grown lettuce

This photo was taken to put in the seed envelope as a reminder of what type of lettuce seed I saved.
This photo was taken to put in the seed envelope as a reminder of what type of lettuce seed I saved. | Source

*Mesclun

Mesclun is a combination of lettuce greens. This salad mix is made from lettuces and edible leaves like chicory, dandelion, parsley, mustard greens, and radicchio.

Originally from Provence, France, it is an assortment of baby salad leaves. You may see it written as mesculum. Many seed companies blend their own custom mesclun mixes like spicy mix, lettuce leaf mix, herb and field greens.

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