Having trouble with indoor container grown lettuce

bear999December 1, 2013

I'm currently growing arugula, spinach, and lettuce in 1-gallon containers under fluorescent lamps in the garage.

The arugula is doing great. The spinach is doing so-so. The lettuce, however, is not doing so well. I was getting a good weekly harvest for the first month and then last week they all started to exhibit wilting near the tip of the leaves. As each day has passed, more area of the leaf exhibits wilting. It looks like a plant that is thirsty, but the soil is moist both to the touch and also according to my moisture meter.

Any ideas what is going on? For reference, I'm growing red velvet and buttercrunch. Temperature in the garage is ~60 F. The top of the plants are ~4-6 inches from the fluorescent lamps and get exactly 12 hours of light each day.

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one thing it might be is your soil is to wet.. are you using a good draining mix?
i kick myself i didnt plant lettuce/etc in oct..weve had a really mild fall here (utah) and i would be picking lettuce now..
$%(#$#( LOL
60F sounds good to me..last yr..i started lettuce inside in
jan and then put out in south facing area against the house..it grew like crazy..was great to have good lettuce mix in feb/march..:)
other consideration..fertilizing..what r u using on your lettuce/etc?
but my biggest bet is..soil is to wet..
hope it works out for ya !!!! good luck

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Dang! I think you nailed it. I just went out to the garage and used my trusty moisture meter and it's off the chart. I'm really surprised as I'm only watering the pots about half a cup once a week.
I have to ask the next logical question...why would too much moisture make the leaves wilty?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 1:20AM
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rebuilder(7a-7b Snellville, GA)

why would too much moisture make the leaves wilty?

Going out on a limb here and others will hopefully jump in to correct me. My understanding is that the excess water in the media squeezes out the oxygen that is necessary for roots to live. Initially the smaller hair like roots die which are the ones that do most of the water/nutrient uptake which is eventually delivered to the leaves. Over-watering stops this process and the leaves wilt from lack of water. There is another physio-chemical process that is interrupted from overwatering that I don't fully understand so I just copied the following from a study...... "Wilting is caused by the inhibition of respiration and loss of ATP synthesis in the roots, which blocks the ion transport systems that normally create the gradient in water potential across the root endodermis. Lack of oxygen thus effectively blocks ATP synthesis in the mitochondria."
Al (talpa) more efficiently described what is happening from overwatering but I cannot find it because I have copied a million quotes from his posts and now it's hard to find some of his great gems of knowledge.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 6:10AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I think rebuilder has nailed the problem. It is possible that it could have been avoided by using a mix with better drainage, and thus a longer life. Al

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:50AM
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