When it’s problematic, it may be due to an intolerance, an allergy or an underlying medical condition. It's best planted in early spring, because once the heat hits its growth is stunted and the leaves turn bitter. There’s no way you can completely stop Mother Nature, but there are ways you can delay the result. If you have a vacuum-packing machine, you can use it on a jar of iceberg lettuce to keep it fresh for up to two weeks. Preventing Bitter Lettuce. Plant Accordingly. Soon, spring passed, summer heat arrived, and gardening websites like this one are inundated with questions: Why is my lettuce bitter? When temperatures rise, the plant snaps into maturation mode and bolts — sends out a stalk and flowers. How to use it: For lovers of bitter lettuce, this essential chicory is crisp and velvety when eaten raw. If this is the case, try picking your lettuce right away in the early morning. It says, “Uh oh, something isn’t right here and I need to put all my energy into producing seeds so I can thrive again next season!”. Other than the visual appeal, raised gardens will benefit from better quality soil, reduced interference of... Compost is the key ingredient behind every successful garden. Then we had a dry spell and I let it go a bit and then we had a wet spell and the sunflowers I planted behind the lettuce got so big and heavy they leaned over the lettuce and I could hardly reach it. They thrive in cooler months, and some even winter over, because they’re so hearty. Plant should last through many cuttings… Buy living lettuce. In order to keep lettuce cool, try growing it in a spot that gets some shade – preferably in the afternoon when the heat is more intense. and I will get back with you as soon as I can! Check out Our Favorite Products page to find everything you might need to help make your garden a success! If a lettuce plant does end up bolting, go ahead and pull it up. Is there any help for bitter tasting lettuce? Different levels of shade cloth exist that you can buy depending on how much sun you want to block. While we happily cook and eat bitter greens (broccoli rabe is a favorite), we don't generally go for it much in salads. In case you aren’t familiar with the term “bolting”, it is when a plant grows quickly, stops flowering, and produces seeds. No known toxins or issues are associated with eating bitter lettuce. Are you familiar with Nutrient Density? Lettuce will bolt and become bitter any time the plant feels like it is stressed. As a gardener of 10+ years, I have done my share of research. Add an inch or two of compost to the top of your soil every fall to add back nutrients. Is it safe to eat bitter lettuce? Before you choose a heat tolerant lettuce, think about your garden plan. Plant in rich soil up to base of core leaves. This is a very straightforward and general answer but I have a lot of tips to follow and methods that I use in my own garden to have fresh lettuce all summer long! In this case, it's definitely whole heads FTW. I will be doing a full review of it at the end of the season. Sowing seeds Lettuce seeds can be sown directly in the garden or field as soon as the soil can be worked as the seeds will germinate at temperatures of 4.4°C (40°F) and above and seedlings will tolerate a light frost. Once the plant gets stressed, it goes into survival mode. Iceberg lettuce contains the vital nutrients vitamin A and potassium along with trace amounts of fiber and protein. It would be easy to succession plant lettuce in these different pockets. Iceberg lettuce is super easy: Just toss it whole into a bag. Head lettuce was developed to remove the bitter taste from lettuce, but in doing so the lettuce lost most of its flavor and nutritiousness. This does not work well with butter lettuce and other tender leaves. Plants are crowded. Soon, spring passed, summer heat arrived, and gardening websites like this one are inundated with questions: Why is my lettuce bitter? View abstract. Younger lettuce plants will have the best taste. Others suggest that the bitter lettuce can be stored in high humidity and in the coldest spot in the refrigerator for a few days. This is a method that I use the most for lettuce. Check out these comparison pictures of lactuca virosa (wild lettuce) vs. lactuca serriola (prickly lettuce). Soon the leaves become bitter and are no longer worth harvesting. Those vibrant plants laden with juicy red tomatoes, peppers, and lemons won’t come out of bland soil. Does your lettuce need to be protected from frost? Raised garden beds have swayed many gardeners on their side for some apparent benefits. “A person who is full refuses honey,    but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry.”. As mentioned, lettuce is a cool weather crop, so it is naturally going to last longer in the spring and fall. Find and use it in recipes that call for cooked spinach or kale and it will turn out great! This site also participates in other affiliate programs, such as True Leaf Market, ShareASale, and Greenstalk Garden and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. God created plants in a way that they will reproduce on their own by producing seeds. It’s during this process that bitter lettuce is produced. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Each leaf has a substantial rib running along the center. Your lettuce should be ready for harvest anywhere from one to two months after planting. This generally happens at the end of the plant’s life cycle or when the plant becomes too stressed. If you don’t have a shady area, plant your lettuce around other taller plants that can provide shade, such as tomatoes or trellised crops. Within weeks, the head lettuce was ready to be thinned and the loose leaf varieties were ready for their first gentle harvesting. Leaves: This is the best way to tell the difference between the plants. How do I know when to harvest my lettuce? There some varieties of lettuce and other salad greens that you may find easier to grow during hot temperatures. While it might look unappetizing, you can still eat it safely. Lettuce needs to grow fast. Do you have gardening questions? Without proper nutrients, growth becomes stunted and bitter tasting lettuce is the result. John from http://www.growingyourgreens.com/ answers your questions including: Why is my lettuce bitter? What makes lettuce turn bitter? Usually sold as Organically, Hydroponically grown lettuce. Interplant your lettuce with taller crops to provide shade as the weather warms. If you would like to give this a try, separate the lettuce leaves, put them in a bowl of cold water and add a small amount of baking soda. My Do Not Disturb method of gardening includes following nature by never disturbing the soil so plants can grow organically, the way God intended. You waited until the last spring frost and quickly sowed the seeds for your lettuce bed. Mulch your lettuce to keep the roots cool and fool the plant into thinking its still spring. Also, it can move on wheels so you can easily move it in and out of the shade and spin it so certain plants receive more sun than others! You can actually grow lettuce all summer long and I have completed some research and experiments of my own with great success! Sign up for our newsletter. Brown leaf edges are a sure sign that you lettuce is thirsty either from lack of water or root damage from close cultivation. It is also a mild sedative and hypnotic. That said, lettuce (other than iceberg lettuce) bruises easily and it’s best kept protected in a container. Next, I’ll give you some tips on how I grow my own lettuce successfully all summer long – even when temperatures reach into the 80s and 90s. They have a nutrient-rich... Hi, I’m Corey and I love using gardening as a way to provide food for my family, learn life lessons alongside my wife, Andrea, and teach life lessons to my two sons. This Greenstalk Vertical Garden would make a really awesome salad garden/tower! Sprouting Lettuce In Warm Weather. As time passes and the plant loses vigor, you may be better off planting a second round of seeds than waiting for new leaves. Note: Although the biggest cause for bitter lettuce is temperature, along with the other possible reasons listed above, additional factors such as one’s region, current growing conditions and even variety can all play a role in the bitterness of lettuce plants. Why does lettuce turn bitter? 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