I love all things salad, so I grow a lot of lettuce to keep myself in supply.Unfortunately, you also run up against some prevalent lettuce problems that may wreck your harvest or at least cause you to throw much of it away.Over the years, I’ve learned many tricks of the trade to identify and deal with lettuce problems, which I’d love to share.Like most plants, lettuce suffers from few problems when the conditions are right, and the soil nutrients are plentiful.Read our detailed post on growing lettuce first as that will give you a great head-start.Most environmental lettuce problems are easy to prevent in advance if you have good planting practices and know what to look for.When lettuce grows a large flower head (or bolts to seed), it’s usually because of heat stress.I always presume the plant knows its days are numbered, so something triggers it to produce seeds to ensure it reproduces.If you live in a very sunny or hot area, provide shade, especially in the morning and the hottest part of the afternoon.Lettuce germination relies on the right temperature, so research what varieties grow well in your area.If the lettuce seedlings are still young and in pots, they may not have sufficient light, so they’re reaching up to the sun.If you aren’t seeing the growth you expected on your lettuce, you may have a number of problems on your hands.I’ve found that once lettuce starts to struggle early on, it finds it difficult to grow the rest of the season.Don’t plant your lettuce in cold, overly moist soil.For more tips, check out our guide on identifying and stopping this common fungal disease.Although yellowing of lettuce can be many other things like insufficient nutrients in the soil or too much or too little watering, I find fusarium wilt is often the culprit.This fungus is notoriously difficult to control on lettuce once it appears, but there are a couple of things you can do.First, carefully remove any infected leaves so that the fungus doesn’t spread.Next, remove some of the smaller lettuces in between the larger ones to allow more airflow and to stop the plants from touching each other.This is because when lettuce is damaged, a chemical reaction containing ethylene gas occurs.Read our article here on how to identify and control this common garden pest.I’m lucky that my area has no deer (or unlucky depending on how you look at it), but if you do, there is netting, landscaping methods, and planting techniques to keep them away.Talk to your neighbors about how they deter deer or check out our guide to deer-proofing your garden.Leave them overnight and in the morning, carefully dump the newspaper in a bucket of soapy water.Lettuce is one of the most common plants grown in the home vegetable garden because they are so easy to produce. .
My Lettuce Is Not Growing Very Well and Is Wilting
Remove plants at the end of the season so nematodes can't reproduce and rotate the lettuce to a new bed each year. .
13 Lettuce Growing Problems & How To Fix Them
If you think lettuce is easy to grow, try sowing seeds a few seasons in a row and see if your crop is the same each year.Harvest only as much as you need for every given meal or snack and let the stalks produce more leaves as you let your belly rest.In any case, it is similar to a Crisphead, in that it does form a head, albeit a very loose one.Leaves are tender and mild, making them an all-around first choice for salads with few ingredients.When you grow it in your garden, you can eat the outer leaves first, one-by-one, working your way up the plant.Both the Romaine leaves and hearts are a beneficial source of vitamins A, C, K. Iron and calcium are included.Closer to the center, or the heart, the leaves are a pale shade of green.Flavor-wise, the Romaine hearts are amazing and often the star of sensational Caesar salads.Yet, for reasons not immediately apparent, Iceberg lettuce is well-known and loved regardless of these slight downfalls.Cutting into one is to remember your childhood with a crunchy wedge on your dinner plate.But it’s going to take some work to form a crisp head worthy of incorporating into that salad.Now, that you know way more about lettuce than you ever thought you would, let’s move on to what can make those lush leaves difficult to grow.In my experience, growing tomatoes can be ridiculously easy or terrifyingly difficult.It all depends on what the summer wants to throw at it: rain, high winds, hail, drought, burning rays of sunshine, frosty mornings.The key to having an abundant harvest (of any crop) is to overcome these situations with ease.Seeding plants in a seedling starter tray, selective focus.Fungus, old seed stock or perhaps the birds have swallowed them before they even got a chance to do their thing.Lettuce seeds, like all other garden crops, have an optimal temperature for germination.Most varieties of lettuce seeds can be sown 2 weeks before the expected last frost date.Believe it or not, there are times when you want to lower your soil temperatures in order for certain seeds to germinate.To sow lettuce seeds in the fall, the best way to lower the heat of your soil is to moisten the ground and cover it with a thick layer of hay or straw.Leave the mulch there for an entire week, then pull it back and sow your lettuce seeds in your cooler soil.Related reading: 10 Reasons Your Seeds Aren’t Germinating & How To Fix It.Acting as a garden spy will help you to better observe nature and swoop in on the situation.If birds are causing a lettuce shortage, floating row covers are the short-term answer to your growing problems.Elongated lettuce leaves are generally weak and fragile, though there is no remarkable difference in flavor.However, if you want to munch on thicker, more robust leaves, you’ll need to take determined action from the very beginning.If it is a must to start your seeds inside, you might want to think in terms of grow lights for the beginning stages of growth.For more lush growth, make sure they have access to partial shade in warmer climates.Though you need to act quickly when it comes to spotting mosaic virus and Fusarium wilt, which both cause yellowing of the leaves.Even indoor plants can suffer from root rot, so it is good to know what happens and how to treat it.If your yellow lettuce leaves are too far gone, the best you can do is rip out the remaining (diseased) plants and stop the damage from spreading.It takes the right amount of sunlight with the perfect pinch of moisture in the soil.To form a perfectly sweet crisp head of lettuce takes cool weather.In order for heads to form, the lettuce needs to be thinned far enough apart, early on, so that nutrients can be shared.Shorter days and cool temperatures are exactly what it needs to keep it from bolting or growing bitter.Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, cucumbers, squashes, you name it.But in the case of leaf vegetables, you need to do all in your power to stop your leafy greens from flowering and going to seed.Choosing lettuce cultivars that are slow to bolt is one way to preemptively foster a fantastic harvest.Planting lettuce at the proper times: spring and fall, as opposed to the heat of summer is another way to limit the chance of bolting.Yet, sometimes lettuce leaves turn an ugly sort of brownish color that makes you question if they are safe to eat.In part, the brownish lettuce leaves you might get from the grocery store are from improper storage conditions, i.e.
ethylene damage.From your own garden, however, leaf lettuce tips may turn brown from the shallow roots drying out.This, in turn, is caused by poor air circulation in rows that are planted too close together.Lettuce has a whole slew of insects that love to munch on its tasty green leaves.Everything from aphids to armyworms, corn earworms to crickets, those darn flea beetles again, leaf miners, nematodes, slugs, snails, weevils and more.Encouraging beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps, ladybugs and lacewings is another.If you start to find holes in your leaves, it is best to identify what might be eating it before taking any sort of action.Then you can take any necessary measures to correct the situation: traps, barriers, mulch or leaf removal.Slimy slugs and snails aren’t only eating holes in your lettuce, they are traversing the valleys and folds too.If dogs can get sick from coming into contact with slugs and snails, logic would say that you are at risk too.As far as keeping slugs and snails away, removing them by hand at night with a flashlight is the easiest (to some: the grossest) way.Brown tips on the lettuce can be prevented by sowing your seed in the shade of other taller crops.Have you ever taken a large forkful of a well-dressed salad and immediately spat it out upon its arrival to your sensitive tongue?Most salad greens turn bitter when daytime temperatures rise above 70°F (21°C).If you find that your lettuce is still bitter despite your best attempts to keep it cool and moist, a lack of nutrients in the soil could be the answer.Red or purple lettuce leaves can simply be an issue of variety or cultivar.Take a step back and look at the bigger picture, then narrow your suspicion down.Another thing to take into consideration is that bacterial leaf spot also spreads easily by sprinkler irrigation.If your first crop of lettuce is affected by leaf spot, take a break with your succession planting schedule and sow some hardier seeds instead. .
Growing Lettuce From Seed
But, there are different methods you can use, and some important things to keep in mind in order to end up with healthy seedlings.In this section, you’ll learn all about different types of lettuce seeds to grow, which sowing methods will work best for your garden, and how long it will take.You can plant lettuce seeds directly in the garden, start them indoors, or even try winter sowing them.I personally find it easiest to direct sow them, since they grow so fast, and the small seedlings can be difficult to transplant.You can start harvesting leafy varieties much sooner than that, since they don’t need to reach full maturity first.It can take anywhere from 55-80 days from seed to harvest for iceberg, romaine, or bibb lettuce, for example.Lettuce seeds germinate best in the cooler temperatures of spring or fall.So, if your lettuce seeds aren’t growing, then check the temperature, light, and moisture levels.When they first sprout, lettuce seedlings are very small, and have two rounded and slightly oblong shaped leaves.In order to germinate and grow their best, lettuce seeds and seedlings need lots of bright light.So make sure to use a grow light indoors to ensure they stay compact.Once your baby lettuce seedlings form their first true leaves, you can start feeding them with a half strength dose of organic seedling fertilizer, liquid fish emulsion, or compost tea.If you end up with overcrowded lettuce seedlings, then you should thin them to give each one plenty of room, especially head varieties.If you started your lettuce seeds indoors, then there are a few steps you must take in order for them to survive being transplanted into the garden.First, make sure that you harden them off to prepare them for life outdoors, and never skip this step.Lettuce seedlings hate the heat, and hot weather will trigger bolting.Since they are so small, and require light to germinate, you should plant them only about 1/4 inch deep.While it’s certainly not required, soaking lettuce seeds for 12-24 hours before planting can help to speed up germination.To germinate lettuce seeds faster, try soaking them for 12-24 hours before planting.Yes, lettuce seeds need light to germinate, so make sure that you don’t sow them too deep.Then put them in a bright location during germination, or hang a plant light right above the trays. .
Growing Lettuce: A Guide to Planting & Harvesting Lettuce
You might not be surprised to find out that the most widely planted salad vegetable in the United States is lettuce.Considered a spring and fall crop, lettuce thrives when temperatures are between 60 to 70 degrees F. Many varieties reach maturity in as little as 30 days, and some can even be harvested much earlier as microgreens.From your garden beds to patio containers, these simple steps will give you a bountiful supply of crisp salad greens throughout multiple seasons.You can begin planting leaf, romaine and butterhead lettuce as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring.Head lettuce is usually started indoors or in a cold frame and transplanted in the spring after the last frost date.The ideal lettuce growing location for spring and fall is in a spot that receives full sun.If you plan on growing lettuce during the summer or in warm planting zones, partial shade can provide protection from the heat.Growing lettuce from seed in late summer may require generous artificial shade to help cool the soil for germination.Once days become cooler, the shade can be removed to give plenty of sunlight to young lettuce plants.The addition of organic materials, such as compost or manure, will increase drainage, provide essential nutrients and improve your lettuce growing conditions.If you’ve had trouble with lettuce growth, consider purchasing a soil test kit.Lettuce seeds are often quite small and only require a planting depth of ¼ to ½ inch deep.Head lettuce is usually grown from seeds started indoors during warm weather for a fall garden.Avoid watering too often – overwatering leads to root rot, disease and stunted growth.You’ll find these annoying little white pests hiding on the undersides of lettuce leaves.There isn’t a systemic insecticide to control aphids, so your best option is to encourage natural predators, such as lady beetles, or to apply a horticultural soap or neem oil.If you notice your lettuce beginning to brown and curl, it could be suffering from a physiological condition known as tipburn.Romaine, also known as cos, forms tall, tight bundles of thick, sweet lettuce leaves.Green Towers, Valley Heart and Red Eyes Cos are all interesting romaine cultivars.Named after the subtle butter flavor, this mild lettuce adds a sweet touch to salads.Other areas can use modifications, such as cold frames, row covers and greenhouses to extend the growing season.Other gardening tricks to prevent bolting in warm weather include planting lettuce in shady areas, using mulch to cool the ground and conserve moisture, and providing a light mist of overhead irrigation to cool plants. .
Growing Lettuce Indoors For Salad Success
Growing lettuce indoors is a great way to garden from the comfort of your own home.Whether you want to grow a head of lettuce or one of those loose-leaf varieties, these plants are a great way to try your hand at indoor gardening.If you don’t have a window with extended amounts of sunlight per day, another method in this section is better.Lettuce plants have shallow roots, making them one of the easiest candidates for container growing.Both heading lettuces and loose-leaf varieties can be successfully grown in a window as long as there aren’t obstructions that will block out sunlight.This makes it possible to plant lettuce in a pot and grow it all year long — even in the winter when tender leaves would be damaged.However, if you don’t have room to host plants, lights, and trays to hold everything, try one of the other methods listed below.Larger tents sit on the floor in a corner and take up about two by four feet of space.Grow tents give both leaf and heading lettuces environmental controls that growers can’t get elsewhere.If you provide proper amounts of sunshine, water, and nutrients lettuce needs, you’ll grow a lovely salad mix in 7 to 9 weeks.Those growing lettuce in a window (north or south-facing depending on the hemisphere) should place pots where there is at least that same amount.Once your seed starting process is complete, move lettuce seedlings to an area that has 12 hours of light.If you place your lettuce plants or seedlings in direct proximity to an air conditioning vent, this could negatively impact growth.Air outflow dries out soil or creates conditions too cold for seed germination.Windows with sunlight and lights dry out soil more quickly than those in a grow tent or hydroponic system.Higher humidity can cause fungus development in your containers or on the lettuce leaves and head.Use a combination of peat moss or coconut coir, vermiculite, and sand to prep your starting site.Some guides recommend plastic wicking trays to give lettuce the water it needs.Terracotta pots heat up and dry out the planting medium quickly when under grow lights or in direct sun.A self-watering pot doesn’t work for many indoor growing situations, but lettuce appreciates extra access to moisture.Hydroponically grown lettuce needs nutrient solutions replaced every few weeks.Add a full spectrum fertilizer in other indoor growing situations after each time you harvest your lettuce plant’s outer leaves.To harvest a full head of lettuce, apply a 10-10-10 or 5-5-5 dry or liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength every two weeks.Avoid applying fertilizer to tender leaves which burn in contact with concentrated nutrients.To harvest baby greens sown close together, prune them by cutting them down about an inch above the medium.For the best fresh lettuce, you’ll want to carry out harvesting before bolting occurs as the leaves may turn bitter during flowering.As they grow into a lettuce plant, transplant them in a pot, container, or hydroponic set up individually or up to six inches apart.Planting lettuce seeds that will form heads close together prevents proper nutrient uptake.Proper sunlight (or synthetic sources) will give you lush, crunchy leaves when harvesting comes.If you’re working in a windowsill garden, move lettuce out of direct sunlight before it bolts, or provide afternoon shade.Roots that are in oversaturated soil for too long may rot, causing wilting, yellowing, or damage to the lettuce plant.If you’ve ever seen streaks of red on your romaine lettuce and wondered what was going on, know this is due to the age of your plant. .
Quote by Thich Nhat Hanh: “When you plant lettuce, if it does not
“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you.problems with our friends or family, we blame the other.love, and the situation will change”.― Thich Nhat Hanh. .
All About Lettuce
Gardeners can select from a large variety of lettucesthat are easy to grow, highly productive in limited space, and virtually pest and disease free.For maximum lettuce production, it's wise to select a site where the soil drains well, yet retains some moisture.Lettuce, one of the oldest food plants known to man, is believed to have originated in India and Central Asia.Lettuce is so easy to grow it can be started indoors for early transplants or sown directly in the garden.Start some lettuce seeds indoors in peat pots a few weeks before the last frost date in your area.Provide the seedlings with plenty of sunlight or keep them under artificial lighting until ready to move into the garden.Reserve a number of lettuce seedlings to fill empty spaces in the garden as the season progresses.To sow lettuce directly in the garden, simply plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep, tamp them down, and water.Keep in mind that lettuce seeds won't germinate in soil that is 80 degrees F. or warmer, so there's no sense in sowing directly in the garden in the summer.Resort to starting heat-tolerant varieties indoors and moving the lettuce seedlings into the garden, preferably under partial shade, after they've developed a few true leaves.You can also start lettuce seedlings indoors for filling vacancies in the garden in late spring and again in early fall as other crops are harvested.Simply 'tuck' a seedling in the vacant spot to keep every inch of garden space in constant production.Use a paper collar around young lettuce seedlings to keep the ravenous caterpillars at bay.Sprinkle wood ashes or diatomaceous earth over the soil around the plants to discourage the nasty mollusks.A major threat is lettuce rot which first attacks the lower leaves in contact with the soil and then spreads throughout the plant.For the best quality, better to pick early than late as lettuce allowed to grow too long may be bitter and tough.For example, a blend of 'Little Caesar,' 'Burpee Bibb', 'Mighty Red Oak Leaf,' and 'Crispy Frills' makes a fine tossed salad with a variety of colors, shapes, and textures. .
How to Grow Crunchy Lettuce : Heart's Content Farmhouse
My husband is the worlds pickiest adult eater.He does not eat any type of lettuce other than romaine or iceberg, so that is all we grow.But there are 1000 seeds in most lettuce packets, which cost about four dollars, so it is certainly worth the trouble if you can get it right.All those beautiful spring mixes and leaf lettuces, in different shades of purple and green?You do not want dozens maturing at once (unless there is a large Caesar salad party planned, in which case you are under a lot of pressure).(If you have fine soil that makes a nice seedbed, and can grow lettuce all through the summer and therefore can plant it when the soil is warm, then you might as well direct sow.But we have heavy soil and weather that heats up quickly once summer hits.).Lettuce prefers sun but cool weather, so I am only able to grow it in the spring and fall.(Bring a ruler to the garden, it is hard to judge.).Since they are relatively quick to mature and the whole plant is pulled at the end, they are a nice crop to fill in empty spaces that will be taken up later.Wait for maturity: the heart needs to develop if you are growing crunchy lettuce.60 to 90 days later (check your seed packet), it will be time.No one in my family eats the softer, greener leaves.The hearts go right in the fridge, wrapped in a slightly damp tea towel.See this post on growing a practical and simple vegetable garden your first year. .