Ask a Question forum→My Lettuce(s) is not doing so well :(

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Florida
Columella
Feb 16, 2021 3:44 PM CST
Hello Everyone,

I am about as new to this forum as I am to gardening, so sorry if this is an obvious one. I made this upright planter out of a pallet and figured I should actually grow something I could eat. I had what I think was an aphid problem which has mostly been remedied, but my lettuce does not look very healthy to me! The weather has been mostly cold, so it isn't getting blasted by heat. My balcony gets about three hours of direct sunlight, faces roughly due west. Thanks for any help!
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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
Eat more tomatoes!
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gardenfish
Feb 16, 2021 5:26 PM CST
Welcome! the lettuce I see looks fine to me....it's ready to harvest. leaves can be cut right now. Don't pull the plants up, just cut the leaves starting with the outer most leaves first. The plant will grow new leaves. Thumbs up I don't see any signs of disease or insects. It would appear that you have some romaine, and this is what it does, the leaves get floppy when they mature. The pics in the seed catalogs of romaine can be deceiving. Home grown romaine seldom grows that upright. Other than that, you might try just a wee bit more light.. my lettuce usually gets about 6 hours of sunlight, but I'm further north.
“ Be kind whenever possible”
14th Dalai Lama
Name: Deborah
Southern California (Zone 10a)
Deeby
Feb 16, 2021 7:33 PM CST
I like the pallet! The lettuce looks good to me too.
Florida
Columella
Feb 16, 2021 8:11 PM CST
Well this is very surprising! Thanks for the help. I just assumed that wilting and falling over was a bad thing. These pictures show some other ones that look particularly rough to me. I wish they were better resolution but it's all I got. Thanks again!



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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
Eat more tomatoes!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Container Gardener Lilies Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Zinnias
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gardenfish
Feb 17, 2021 2:18 AM CST
What I see in these new pics is normal. The lettuce leaves look like this as they age. Mine do this, too. Lettuce is a fast growing plant, and like all plants, the bottom most leaves get old, yellow and drop off or need to be removed. Remove the leaves when they look like this and throw away. The plant will grow new ones. Regular harvesting keeps this in control., Thumbs up
“ Be kind whenever possible”
14th Dalai Lama
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Herbs Salvias Composter Bee Lover Container Gardener
Bookworm Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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NMoasis
Feb 17, 2021 3:01 AM CST
Fun planter! To my eyes those lettuces don't look at all well. I see several problems. The first obvious one is that you aren't harvesting them early enough or enough overall. When the outer leaves are left to age it slows the growth of the new inner leaves. Pinch or snip off every one of those nasty old leaves, leaving only the small young growth in the middle. As those leaves grow—in about a week or so—harvest them when they are still fresh and green and keep it up. Even if there is only one tiny new leaf left, it's fine. A couple of those plants might not survive (third photo from the bottom, far left next to the dianthus looks like a goner Sad )

Other issues: Did you spray them with some product, and in the sun? You said you got rid of aphids...how? I'm pretty sure I can see something that looks like aphids (and something else, bigger?) on that last photo of...a brassica of some sort? Try washing the bugs off with a spray of plain water. Not when the sun is shining on them.

Not enough light. Possibly too much harsh direct western sun, but overall, they are leggy and light-starved. Also, does the planter drain well? Lettuce like moist but not soggy soil and light nitrogen fertilizer like fish emulsion unless there is fertilizer in that potting soil.

It looks like that planter is on a porch or balcony. Is there any way to reposition it so it gets some morning sun? I'm not sure how long your lettuce season lasts in Florida, but as spring draws nearer, that western exposure is definitely going to be too hot. Then they'll prefer eastern sun and/or shade in the afternoon. Hopefully you can get a few salads before then! You've made a good start. Good luck! Thumbs up

Edit to add: I cross-posted with gardenfish, whom I usually agree with. In this case, we definitely agree about the harvesting .
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
[Last edited by nmoasis - Feb 17, 2021 3:04 AM (+)]
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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
Eat more tomatoes!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Container Gardener Lilies Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Zinnias
Organic Gardener Heirlooms Bee Lover Hummingbirder Echinacea Tomato Heads
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gardenfish
Feb 17, 2021 3:27 AM CST
Zoe always give excellent advice. Thumbs up If she says she sees aphids, well, my poor old eyes ain't what they used to be! Yes, wash off aphids with water. You don't want to use chemicals on something you will be eating. And yes, I think it needs some more light, preferably from an eastern exposure. Here mine is grown on the eastern side of my yard.I tend to forget how much stronger the sun is in Florida.
“ Be kind whenever possible”
14th Dalai Lama
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Herbs Salvias Composter Bee Lover Container Gardener
Bookworm Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Image
NMoasis
Feb 17, 2021 3:47 AM CST
Lynda, judging by all those tomatoes and blooming flowers, it's a HECK of lot stronger than what we're getting! Hilarious!
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
Name: Deborah
Southern California (Zone 10a)
Deeby
Feb 17, 2021 12:12 PM CST
Gee, the second round of pictures sure tell a different story! Good advice from Zoe and Lynda.
The pallet rocks though!

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