The small rosette of sweet green leaves gives Tom Thumb Butterhead the favored reputation as an heirloom of distinction. Lightly dress with a lemony vinaigrette to taste the lettuce flavor, garnish with cucumbers and pansies. Sow seeds directly in the garden, and harvest whole heads, when small. Lettuce is an ideal crop for quick growing, and this variety tolerates close planting for a continuous crop.
An English heirloom variety introduced in the first half of the 1800s, Tom Thumb butterhead lettuce is named for the tiny character in English folklore. The heads of this unique variety grow to a petite 4-6 inches in diameter, but are just as big in flavor as their larger counterparts. The dark green outer leaves and the yellow-green inner leaves are both crisp in texture with a sweet, buttery, and somewhat nutty flavor. Harvest the leaves individually or pick the entire head for use all at once; they're the perfect size for individual salads. Much more tolerant of heat than other varieties, Tom Thumb butterhead lettuce is also quicker to grow. And its small size makes it the perfect little crop for a window box or other container.