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Species: Valerianella locusta (L.) Laterr.
Origin and diffusion
Valerianella is a vegetable whose fresh leaves are used in salads; it is also known by the vulgar name of Dolcetta, Gallinella, Lattughella. From the nutritional point of view it is characterized by a low energy value (10 cal / 100 g) and a good content in vitamins and mineral salts. In recent years, its consumption has increased. It is spontaneous in the Mediterranean area.
Valerianella - Valerianella locusta (L.) Laterr. (website photo)
It is a herbaceous plant with an annual or biennial cycle depending on the sowing period; it is annual when sown in winter. Initially, it produces a rosette of spatulate leaves, asexyl, shiny green, 8-10 cm long; from April to June the plant emits an angular flower stem with dichotomous branches ending with bunches of small funnel-shaped blue bench flowers; pollination is entomophilic. The fruit is a light or dark gray globular smooth achene, which is used for sowing (weight 1.00 seeds from 2 to 4 grams).
It is considered a rustic species adaptable to different types of soil, even heavy as long as well drained and equipped with organic substance. The most suitable climate is the temperate one. During the winter, in the northern regions it must be protected from frost. The nutritional needs are limited, given the short crop cycle: a basic fertilization of the plant with 4-6 q / ha of complex fertilizers (1: 1: 2) is sufficient.
Two valerianella cultivars are widespread in cultivation, one with a large seed and more elongated leaves called DOlanda with a large seed, the other with a smaller seed is called Green full heart; the former is more suitable for greenhouse crops, the latter is those in full condition because it is more resistant to cold.
The planting is done with direct sowing, broadcasters or in rows 15-20 cm apart; the crop density varies with the type of plant you want to obtain. With soil temperatures of 15-20 ° C, germination takes place in about a week. Sowing can be done scalarly from spring to autumn; the cycle lasts 2-3 months. Irrigation is necessary for crops planted in summer and in greenhouse crops. Weeding is also important in the early stages of cultivation.
Collection and production
When the leaves have reached their maximum length, cut the seedlings under the collar leaving 0.5 cm of root. The production per hectare is about 100-150 quintals in full and 250 quintals in greenhouses, in large-seed cultivars.
Adversity and pests
Lamb's lettuce is exposed to parasitic attacks common to all salads. In greenhouse crops it is mainly subject to root and collar rot caused by Sclerotinia minor, Pythium spp., Phoma valerianellae, while attacks of Peronospora valerianellae and Aecidium valerianellae are possible on the leaves.
from Principi di Orticoltura - Romano Thesis - Edagricole