Please tell me why my lettuce is 3 feet tall and tastes terrible! It just came up about 9 days ago and in the last two days it grew really tall. It gets plenty of water and my soil is really good.
Giant Lettuce Plants Everywhere!
Dear Giant Lettuce Plants,
Sadly your tall, terrible tasting lettuce is a product of the weather and the sun. Despite your watering and your good soil, lettuce is prone to bolting.
Bolting is just lettuce going to the flower stage. It is flowering to start producing seeds. Lettuce will bolt when the daytime temperature goes above 75 degrees F. and the night temperature stays above 60 degrees F. So our really hot weather right now is really causing a bolting frenzy.
Lettuce also has a very accurate internal clock so it keeps track of how much light the plant gets. These factors all tell the plant when to bolt. Other plants that may bolt are spinach, chinese cabbage, mustard greens and radishes.
You can do a couple of things to help you have lettuce longer in the hot weather. First plant new rows of lettuce every 7 days, this ensures small yummy leaves. You can also put a shade cover over the lettuce area to cut down on light and help the moisture stay high in the soil. This cover can be as simple as a sheet over some stakes about 10 inches above your lettuce. Be sure you are feeding your lettuce, by adding compost and mulching lots. You are doing great making sure your lettuce gets plenty of water because lettuce is mostly water!
I wish there was a magic way to stop bolting lettuce but alas it’s just the way it goes in our area. You also might try growing a pot or two of lettuce inside your house or under a covered porch. Give the cover idea a try or wait for the cooler weather to come back.
Yours, as helpful as possible,