Answer: Aside from the factors you mention -- variety, amount of sun and water -- there are a few other things that might account for the variation in taste. One is temperature. Plants like peas, spinach, and lettuce like cool weather where they grow slowly. In hot weather, they will grow quickly, and in the case of lettuce and spinach, bolt to form flower heads. Plants that grow too quickly may end up with a bitter or bland taste. One trick is to plant lettuce in a spot where it will get some shade during the hottest part of the day. Or try planting a little earlier in the spring, if possible, or plant a midsummer crop for fall harvest. As long as your plants are adequately fertilized, nutrient levels probably aren't a factor in taste.
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