Lettuce Bitter again - any thoughts?

drscottr(7)June 16, 2007

This is my 5th year gardening. Every year I get tons of nice tomatoes, onions, peppers, cukes, etc. However, every year my lettuce is bitter. I have tried multiple varieties that I grow from seeds, store bought seedlings, and seed tapes. I water every other day deeply. The lettuce is picked at various stages. Yet always the lettuce is bitter - sometimes mildly and sometimes intensely. Soil testing showed good nutrient and organic matter percentages and the soil p.H. is normal. Any thoughts?

I'd be curious to know which varieties folks in this area grow that aren't bitter. Do local farmers grow lettuce or is the climate just not conducive?

I live in Owings Mills, which is northwest of Baltimore.

Thanks

Scott

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jakejones

Hi Scott,

Yes, this is a problem. I find the lettuce season to be very short. Very young lettuce can be bitter. And old lettuce is bitter too (when it bolts). I would grow it in a cooler, partly shady part of the garden. I grow a mix from seed. Try the red kinds or oak leaf...

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 6:58AM
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drscottr(7)

Do Maryland Farmers grow lettuce?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 10:20AM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

It may be bitter simply because of the heat. Most lettuces are cool-weather crops and must be sown very early in the spring, or in the fall. You might want to try growing several different kinds of lettuce (you may have to order seed to get a good selection) to find a few that do well under your conditions--in particular look for heat-tolerant varieties.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 9:51AM
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oscarthecat(z7MD)

Red Sails

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 9:51PM
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shadberry

We grow lotsof different leaf lettuce and it lasts 3-5 weeks. As soon it starts getting hot, we cover it so it is shaded but it still gets bitter . We stopped eating our lettuce about 2 weeks ago. I live in Towson. When it is not bitter, it is terrific. We start it from seed outside usually in early april.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 9:13PM
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tvalenti(7a)

I did Mascera this year (another red type) and it still going strong in Potomac, MD. We cut and it comes again quickly as well. I also have the lettece somewhat shaded (but not a whole lot) behind some large zebra grass plantings.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 8:41PM
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jakejones

It's now the end of June, and our lettuce is getting bitter now. We got a few good weeks.

The arugala was great -- it's got a different taste.

We planted some small plants, but they didn't grow well this spring. I find it hard to get them growing well in the cooler weather -- they're supposed to be a cool weather crop.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 9:22PM
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pika701

Leaf lettuce during cool weather is SOOOO sweat but as the heat rises and the sun intensifies it's starts to turn bitter. It can still be picked before it bolts but when you pick it makes the difference. I pick first thing in the morning before the sun rises. The juice that causes the bitterness has retreated back into the roots through the night. I pull the whole plant and take it into the kitchen where I immediately cut off the roots past the outer leaves. I let it sit a few minutes to allow the any juice to run out and then pull the leaves and wash them. I shake off any excess water and put it in a plastic bag for the night. After that I make a salad and tear it up!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 7:39AM
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