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Lettuce Trees

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Lettuce Trees

Post  Miss Mousie on 11/5/2010, 1:23 am

I bought some lettuce seedlings and planted them in August. Since then I've been trimming leaves off the plants but now they are growing taller and looking more like lettuce trees. It dawned on me that perhaps the varieties that I have are not the kind you cut and come again but should be cut right off at the base like a head only it's leaf lettuce. I can't remember off hand which varieties I have, I would have to go look at the markers in the garden but it's dark right now. I think the light green is black seeded simpson.

What am I doing wrong?





Thanks!
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Re: Lettuce Trees

Post  Chopper on 11/5/2010, 2:13 am

It looks like they just went to seed. Heat will cause that sometimes. Most leaf lettuces can be picked a few leaves at a time.

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Re: Lettuce Trees

Post  camprn on 11/5/2010, 6:37 am

When my lettuce gets to this point I pull it out of the ground as I think it tastes bitter. do you have more seed?
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Re: Lettuce Trees

Post  Miss Mousie on 11/5/2010, 4:14 pm

It seems to taste fine, not bitter. I bought them as seedlings. Do I still have time to plant seeds? We may get rain but for the most part we shouldn't see frost for another couple of weeks or so. I guess I could try it and see what happens.

So should I have just cut the whole "head" of lettuce and used it or should I have cut the leaves. There is definitely more to gardening than you'd think. Maybe I should have been harvesting more of the leaves to get it to put out leaves instead of forming a stock. I guess I'll have to do a little research on lettuce.
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Re: Lettuce Trees

Post  Furbalsmom on 11/5/2010, 4:44 pm

Sandy

I also harvest leaf by leaf from my leaf lettuces. Once the lettuce starts to bolt (turns into a tree because it is trying to flower and set seed) I continue to harvest what I can as long as the leaves don't get bitter. Once they turn bitter, I just pull them out. Hopefully I have planted some at a later date so I will still have fresh lettuce. My porch is sort of protected, so I am growing my most recent lettuce on the porch in Mels Mix but in containers instead of my SFG. That way I can baby them a little by covering if it gets too cold. We have not had our first frost yet either.

I don't know your climate, but some of the lettuces are cold resistant and it certainly would not hurt to try to sow some seeds. The worst that can happen is they won't grow. Seeds are really inexpensive, so the cost will be minimal.
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Re: Lettuce Trees

Post  Miss Mousie on 11/5/2010, 6:28 pm

Thanks Furbalsmom,

So maybe I should chop down my lettuce trees and use any leaves that aren't bitter and plant some new seeds. Sounds like fun.

The climate where I'm at is weird. Today is probably 75 degrees or so, it's 73 in the house so maybe warmer outside. I'm in Sunset zone 7 with hot summers and mild but pronounced winters.

I just may put some lettuce seeds out with I water later.
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Re: Lettuce Trees

Post  Furbalsmom on 11/5/2010, 7:11 pm

Do you have a little space that you can plant new lettuce seeds and see how they do before you chop down the trees? As long as they aren't bitter, I would still pick leaves from them as needed.

The green one is definitly bolting, but the red looks like my red romaine, which has long leaves anyhow. Until the center just grows straight up, as long as they are not bitter, I would leave them. (still try planting new seeds if you have room)


Last edited by Furbalsmom on 11/5/2010, 7:16 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fumblefingers)
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Re: Lettuce Trees

Post  miinva on 11/5/2010, 7:17 pm

I agree, I wouldn't pull the lettuce unless it no longer tastes good. As long as it's tasty, it doesn't matter if it looks like it 'should'. Smile

Lots of lettuces are cold-weather tolerant, according to the Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman. I'll have to get the book out of the car and share the list of plants that are good for cold-weather gardening Smile I'm planning to use floating row cover to keep the frost off my plants, but other than that I'm going to keep planting and hoping for the best! I'm also trying a cold-frame, so we'll see how that goes.

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Re: Lettuce Trees

Post  Miss Mousie on 11/5/2010, 9:06 pm

Whooops! I should have checked the forum before I went out to the garden. I did plant some seeds in a bare spot in one of the boxes. I hope I didn't water them all into one spot, I tried to be gentle. I should see some sprouts in a couple of days to a week, huh? I did cut the taller of the lettuce trees and put them in the fridge for salad (I'll taste test them first to make sure they aren't bitter). I left about half of them because I couldn't bare to cut them all. We'll see what happens. So this will be my first experiment. I can't wait to see the sprouts, I planted a all lettuce variety/mesculun mix.
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Re: Lettuce Trees

Post  Komanui on 3/5/2012, 3:08 pm

Aloha -

I planted Simpson Lettuce eight weeks ago - it has grown to about 18 inches, but has not turned bitter or gone to seed. I've been harvesting the leaves regularly since I planted it.

I've seen internet images that shows Simpson growing as tall as ~ 2 1/2 feet. (This link shows an example
http://www.seedlibrary.org/catalog/?exchange=lettuce&seed=simpson_lettuce)

My problem is a very heavy rain storm has toppled the stalks - bent but not broken - should I a) try to stake them, b) see if they recover on their own or c) do something else?

Thanks !
Komanui
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Lettuce Trees - Corrected Link

Post  Komanui on 3/5/2012, 3:11 pm

(This posting contains the correct link - Sorry !)

Aloha -

I planted Simpson Lettuce eight weeks ago - it has grown
to about 18 inches, but has not turned bitter or gone to seed. I've
been harvesting the leaves regularly since I planted it.

I've seen internet images that shows Simpson growing as tall as ~ 2 1/2 feet. (This link shows an example
http://www.seedlibrary.org/catalog/?exchange=lettuce&seed=simpson_lettuce

My
problem is a very heavy rain storm has toppled the stalks - bent but
not broken - should I a) try to stake them, b) see if they recover on
their own or c) do something else?

Thanks !
Komanui
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Komanui

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Re: Lettuce Trees

Post  Miss Mousie on 3/5/2012, 3:51 pm

Hi Komanui,

It's my understanding that lettuce is a cool weather veggie and when the temperature starts getting to hot it bolts (produces a stalk and eventually makes seeds). It might be too warm in Hawaii for that type of lettuce and you might want to find one that does better in warmer temps or find a way to keep the lettuce shaded. I'm still learning about gardening (it's never ending) and I say if you have lettuce trees and they aren't bitter then eat them and enjoy. We've had a warmer then usual winter here and my cabbage bolted. I
always seem to plant my fall garden too late and it stalls and then
picks up in early spring a bit. Last year I harvested 3 really nice
cabbages and this year they bolted or has a weird aphid or some sort of
pest problem.

By the way I couldn't view the picture at that link you posted. I'd like to see a 2 ft lettuce tree.

Good luck with your lettuce
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Re: Lettuce Trees

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