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Bitter Lettuce - Permanent?

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Post  HieronRemade on 6/5/2011, 7:29 pm

Hello Everyone - Well I have all these large baby lettuces growing in cups that I never planted in my SFG (started them late and now it's so late that I didn't want to chance taking up space on something that wouldn't survive). I was going to pick and eat them as is, as it's at least a few me-size (that is, a salad-bowl full Very Happy) salads worth, but they're wilting despite plenty of water, and most of the leaves I taste-tested are really bitter! I think it's because we've had minimum mid-80's and often mid-90's temps here for probably the last 10 days or so. Anyway, I'm wondering if the plants are permanently ruined, or if they'll lose that bitter taste if I bring them inside to the cooler temps for a few days or something? If anyone has even a best guess I'd appreciate it, as the wife wants the cups gone now one way or another, lol.
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Post  walshevak on 6/5/2011, 8:56 pm

This is my first time growing lettuce and I got a good crop, but the heat the last week turned them all very bitter. I like bitter greens, but even I decided no on what's left and pulled the all out today. IMO the heat has done yours in as well.

Kay

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Post  Patty from Yorktown on 6/5/2011, 9:14 pm

Unfortunately lettuce that has bolted will not recover. You can try to drown it out with salad dressing. Happy Gardening.

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Post  jbh29 on 6/5/2011, 9:31 pm

So I had hopes of having lettuce from now until fall. Is that a pipe dream to have lettuce through the summer months?

If so, when do you plant another crop for fall harvests if lettuce doesn't do well in the heat of August?
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Post  HieronRemade on 6/6/2011, 9:38 am

Well being in Northern WI you can probably have lettuce for longer than I Jenny, especially if you try out some of the options Mel gives for extending the cold-weather crop season (shade cloth, etc.). I'm not an expert yet by any means, but I would say you're good to grow lettuce without doing anything special when the weather stays consistently in the low 70's or lower. I'll probably start trying to grow some more in late August in the shade and just experiment from there!
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Post  jbh29 on 6/6/2011, 12:05 pm

so when temps get higher than 70s does lettuce need any sun at all?
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 6/6/2011, 1:17 pm

Lettuce will do fairly well in the shade of other, taller plants from what I've read. Mine has always done fine in full sun. They will eventually expire, but I wouldn't worry about it until they do. Then, I just replant and rock n roll some more. Lettuce comes up in 2 days, the seeds aren't very expensive, you get a ton per packet, and I am a continual harvest kind of guy. What doesn't make it, doesn't make it. But, I will be right there when the weather lets me start growing lettuce again because I keep planting no matter what....if that makes sense.
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Post  HieronRemade on 6/6/2011, 1:51 pm

@jbh29 wrote:so when temps get higher than 70s does lettuce need any sun at all?

Again I'm not an expert, but if you use shade cloth, some sun still gets through, just not all. Like birdgardner I've also heard that growing them in the shade of other plants will work. If you were worried about them getting sun, you could always take down the shade cloth each evening when it cools down and leave it off in the morning until it gets too hot, but that would get old really quick I think!

Here we go - HERE'S a little article on the subject that has a couple tips I hadn't heard of before. It's only a minute-long read; maybe it will help you out?
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Post  jbh29 on 6/7/2011, 8:42 pm

@HieronRemade wrote:Again I'm not an expert, but if you use shade cloth, some sun still gets through, just not all. Like birdgardner I've also heard that growing them in the shade of other plants will work. If you were worried about them getting sun, you could always take down the shade cloth each evening when it cools down and leave it off in the morning until it gets too hot, but that would get old really quick I think!

Here we go - HERE'S a little article on the subject that has a couple tips I hadn't heard of before. It's only a minute-long read; maybe it will help you out?

Thanks for this article. Good tips for planting in shade of other plants. Another thing I'll have to plan for next year. This year I planted thinking it would look nice to have many different things in each of my beds. Next year, I think I'll bunch lettuce together to be shaded by tomatoes or to be shaded all together by shade cloth.

I put up some poles along with my hoop house frames to shade lettuce the other day, and I got tired of doing it that first day! I could see that I just won't keep that up. But I have been watering every day so hopefully that will help - like the article said.

Another lettuce challege I have is knowing how much to plant. We eat salads (like 'the big salad') twice a day. I've already planted more than I did last year, but still not enough. I really think i could use another few beds just for lettuce & spinach!
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