The Q&A Archives: Growing Lettuce

Question: I have planted lettuce in a raised bed, it starts to come up in about 4-5 days. Then something seems to be chewing on the leaves and they stop growing and disappear. On Sunday, I sprinkled them with a combination of dish soap and water. They seem to be growing much better. Is this the right thing to do? Is there anything else that I can do?

Answer: With a little detective work you can probably figure out who's dining on your salad greens. Snails and slugs like to munch down on lettuce, and they usually feed at night. They leave slime trails. Put out some traps if these guys are making midnight raids. Aphids enjoy tender greens and they're generally easy to spot during the daylight hours. If you find aphids, Insecticidal soap will do them in. Caterpillars and grubs like lettuce, too. They feed during the day or night and almost always leave behind tell-tail frass (technical name for insect poop). Once you discover the culprit, treat accordingly. Floating row covers will keep flying insects away from your crops, but if the bad guys are ground-dwellers, putting row covers over the bed will only keep them in!

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