This year is the first year I am starting head lettuce and brassicas from seeds. I don't have any lights and unfortantly my plants have turned out very leggy. Can anyting be done to save them?
You don't say where you live. Is it warm enough to start hardening them off? My lettuce seedlings are outside now getting used to the weather before planting out.
The Brassicas can be planted deeper into their final positions. They'll root from the stems. Lettuce won't.
You can put a light fan on the seedlings as soon as they sprout as preventative, the wind vibrates the stems and signals them to grow stronger stems to support the leaf load. generally, a plant will only grow as tall as the roots and stem can support.. If it feels threatened by the blowing wind, would you grow taller and let the wind knock you over, or would you grow stronger to fight the wind... However, light plays a bigger role than wind. All you really need is a little fluorescent shoplight, even a CFL bulb is better than nothing. Make sure it is in your brightest south facing window. Also, cooler air temps will promote stockyness and less leggyness. If they are too leggy to plant at the depth is was orginally growing in, you could try to bury the stems as the last resort.
1.get a cheap light/move it to a brighter south window
2.get a fan, it will cool your growing area and encourage stockyness
3. Bury the stems deeper when planting out in the garden
Lettuce and brassicas are quite different when it comes to starting inside, although the general recommendations for both are similar. The prognosis for the brassicas is more favorable than for the lettuces. Leggy lettuce has very fragile stems that often won't survive transplanting at all. If you don't have an ideal starter setup, as described above, best not to bother with lettuce for transplant.
Brassicas are more resilient, and you have a reasonable chance of success if you can get them into the ground and light right away.
I started a flat of lettuce in the hoop. They emerged in about one week. To me it is not worth it to start cool crops under light. I use my resource for Tomatoes, Peppers and eggplants. Those are the ones that take long time to grow.
For each their own !
I start brassicas inside with the plan of settng them out the first of April, then turning the space over to the warm-season crops.
In theory, I'd do the same with lettuce, but the results are not as good.
I've seen people with lettuce flourishing in indoor setups, but it's not as easy as brassicas, in my own experience.
I never had success with lettuce and broccoli until I bought a light. I think a four foot one at lowe's is maybe ten bucks. It was worth it. And set it right over the seedlings. Having said that, I have gotten to where I don't find it that useful for lettuce, starting outside under plastic works pretty well. Broccoli is worthwhile for me because I have trouble with it getting too hot before I can get a decent crop. I start it right after Christmas so it's pretty good sized by the time it goes in the garden.