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Walworth Lettuce Trials

Project partners:

Walworth Garden

London Freedom Seed Bank


For Walworth Garden's 30th year - field trials of 30 lettuce varieties.


Selection of the best varieties for seed saving and development as locally adapted resilient varieties.


Cultivation of seed for contribution to the London Freedom Seed Bank.


Selection of parent varieties for future breeding programme.


Initial variety selection includes:

Varieties previously grow by Walworth Garden

Popular garden varieties from large scale seed producers

Heritage varieties from large scale seed producers and small scale ebay sellers (unknown provenance).

Varieties from the Heritage Seed Library

Varieties from the London Freedom Seed Bank

New varieties from Open Source Seed Initiative growers, Frank Morton and Baker Creek, Adaptive Seeds, USA.

Spring Field Trials include observation, photographic record and evaluation based on:




Resilience to pests

Resistance to bolting

Site analysis: Bed size: 3.4m x 2.5 meters. Light: Full sun. 15% shading at bed edge to West. Soil, heavily worked. Regularly dug. Poor soil structure. Nutrition/PH: Unknown. Moisture Retention: Poor. Mulch Proposed: Straw. Plant raising: Modules in Greenhouse. Germination:

First sowing  6/04/17. Greenhouses potentially above 25 degrees C, so modules left to germinate outside.

Observation 8/04/17: Fox footprints in modules. Action: Protective mesh.


Germination observed 14/04/17: Generally good. 95% Except: Bronze Mignonette (0%), Flashy Butter Oak (5%), Salad Bowl (10%), Black Seeded Simpson (15%), Webb's Wonderful (20%).


Slug Damage observed 19/04/17: Black Seeded Simpson reduced by 80%....


20 Varieties selected for planting out.

4 x 5 grid.

Net protection from fox required.



Generally good growth. Some snail damage to Marvel of Four Seasons and Webb's. Catalunya most vigorous. Manual Snail control. 


Fox damage to Red Deer Tongue, Mottistone and Saladin. Loos Tennis Ball and Brown Dutch starting to bolt...
Sustained period of hot weather.  


Best looking varieties selected for tasting. 4 participants. Scores out of 5 for taste and texture.

Top 5 results:

1. Lettony

2. Soulie

3. Jester

4. Cimmaron

5. Flashy Butter Oak





Field trial, documentation, logbook, seed production

Walworth Garden, London, 2017

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