Saturday 11 July 2015

Tom Thumb visits Elyburg

This year I am growing lots of different types of Lettuce. We like variety in our salads, and besides, if you grow all the same type they tend to all mature at the same time.

In this photo you can see "Amaze" (the red one), "Webbs Wonderful" (the frilly green one), "Tom Thumb" (the small green one, bottom left), and "Elyburg" (the upright Romaine type, top left).

"Tom Thumb" is one of those I have grown from seeds kindly supplied by Marshalls. It is a lettuce ideally suited to small gardens, because it is very compact. It is a "butterhead" type, with soft (buttery?) leaves.

"Tom Thumb"

"Elyburg" is a new, experimental, lettuce variety developed by Thompson and Morgan. It is a cross between Iceberg and Little Gem. It has firm, crunchy leaves. Good for a Caesar salad, I'd say.


Perhaps the best-looking of all the lettuces I am growing this year is "Amaze", another from Marshalls. It is a Red Gem type. The leaves are a mixture of red and yellowish-green.



If you look over at the right of this next photo (in the sunny bit), you can see my little patch of Cutting Salad.

This is the second generation of it this year. Being so closely-spaced, it matures very quickly and runs to seed very rapidly, so needs to replaced frequently. My (home-made) mixture includes lettuce, cress, Mizuna, rocket, mustard and Pak Choi.

I do also have some Endives, though perhaps this is not wise. We love Endives, so I am always trying to grow them, but they never do well during the Summer, even though I sow ones that are supposed to be suitable for this time of year. Whatever I do with/for/to them they always bolt. They perform much better during the Autumn.

Endive "Caillard"

Lettuce "Elyburg", Endive "Caillard" and Spring Onions.

This is Plan 'B':

Endive seedlings, "De Meaux" and "Caillard"


  1. I'm growing a mixture of lettuces too though I'm not sure which ones as they're from a pack of mixed seed. It's good to have variety though.

  2. Your Elyburg lettuce seems to be like the Sierra MI I'm growing, which is considered a "Batavian" or "Summercrisp" lettuce. It's halfway between an iceburg and a looseleaf lettuce, the leaves are so thick and crisp with great flavour and it's slow to bolt. It's one of my favourite varieties.

  3. I love Tom Thumb and it does really well in our garden. It can withstand hot summer heat and is a perfect size for one serving. Your display is beautiful and will provide lots of fine meals!!

  4. I need to do a lettuce trial next year. The summertime mix lettuces just aren't doing it for me. I find the romaines are keeping their flavor better over the summer than the other varieties.

  5. Elyburg lettuce looks like something I'd very much like to try. However ...

    T&M is not marketing it on either their Canadian or US website, only UK and worldwide. Can you (Mark) or anyone else tell me if 'Sweet Success' is the same or different? Any ideas as to what it might be called in US? Or is it only experimental in UK?

  6. It looks to me as if Sweet Success is very similar to Elyburg. It might just be a Marketing thing...

  7. Red romaine lettuces seem to be popular with seed growers lately, I've been growing Ruby Gem which is a nice one. I grow a similar mix of cutting salad greens, except I sow them separately. Cress bolts just about instantly at this time of year, but arugula (rocket) stands longer and mizuna even longer, so it's nice to grow them on their own and resow as necessary - or not in the case of cress. I can't grow endive in the summer either. The big surprise is my patch of "Spadona" chicory from a spring sowing that just keeps on going.

  8. It's great having a selection of lettuce to pick from, your plants are all looking very healthy.

  9. You remind me that it is time to replenish our salad bar

  10. *groan*.... That is a groan to myself and not to your lovely lettuces. I have zero lettuces despite a few attempts. They just haven't worked for me this year, or maybe I haven't worked for them, to be more precise. Tom Thumb looks like a good one to try if it's suited to dry conditions, we get so much time in between the rain these days. Roxy, a red leaf variety has been really good in the past for me, I can recommend it, big leaves and nice flavour.


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