Grown lettuce in window box, not as crisp as the store lettuce

minal(6)June 9, 2011

ok, so my lettuce is growing great in a large window box. I have 3 varieties, they are Chadwicks rodan lettuce, lettuce petite rouge and lettuce tom thumb. But they seem a little soft and wimpy. The tomb thumb is a little thicker/stronger lettuce. All of them dont seem as crisp as the store lettuce.

Is it because of the varieties these lettuce are or because of the recent the hot weather. They dont seem to be bolting. I will try to post a picture, for a better idea.



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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Varietal differences plus the growing methods can't really be compared. Soil in a window box will dry out 100x faster than the commercial varieties grown in the ground. Lettuce is a water hog since it is 90% water to begin with. But that soil moisture level must be consistent and that is impossible to do in a windowbox.

Water it well with cold water 1 hour before harvesting it for the most crispness the particular variety will allow. Also don't let the leaves get too big/old before harvesting.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 10:25AM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

It's probably because they're different varieties, and because they're young. Some types of lettuce are crisper than others.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 10:26AM
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A window box is a furnace on a hot day.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 10:37AM
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I find the Romain and bib type the best for container growing. A drain pan under the container to hold extra water can be of some help along with a good soil mix like Al's 5 1 1 and watering every day. ( you will find Al's 5 1 1 over on the container fourm ) Still growing lettuce as crisp as the store type (Iceberg) in a window box would be a challange. I for one no longer care and seldem buy at the store I enjoy the taste and varity of all the other lettuce's including the leaf types


    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 12:30PM
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Tom Thumb is a butterhead lettuce, supposed to be less crisp.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 12:53PM
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thanks a lot for all the responses. I will not let the soil dry out and try the cold water tip. Also though the lettuce is planted in a window box, it just stays on my covered front porch which gets some morning sun, so mostly its in partial shade with the radishes in another window box.
Next year I will surely give it a try in the ground and see if there's a difference.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 2:04PM
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I've been growing lettuce in containers for several years and thought they did well - until this year when we put in raised beds. The difference in the lettuce is so remarkable that I changed my mind about growing some in containers near the kitchen door. The quality of the lettuce this year is well worth the walk to the garden.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 5:17PM
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colleen_mi(5b/6a SE Mich)

I find that picking lettuce a couple hours ahead, soaking in very cold water for a few minutes, and then refrigerating it gives even the softer lettuces maximum crispness. Goes against how I like to pick everything as fresh as possible, but works pretty well for me.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 5:35PM
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