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What is wrong with my lettuce?

Posted by chele519 5 (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 5, 11 at 6:57

All of the true leaves on my Bibb lettuce are turning black. I transplanted some last week and thought maybe the fertilizer in the Miracle Grow was too strong or I got some on the leaves which burned them. Now all the new leaves that are growing and opening are also turning dark, including the ones that are in the Jiffy mix and haven't been transplanted. In a previous post someone mentioned it meant poor uptake of nutrients or tainted water but in previous questions about fertilizing, I got a lot of replies from people that said I didn't need any at this stage. I'm using water from a PUR dispenser so I don't know if that is the problem. My tap water has a strong chlorine smell so that is why I didn't want to use it.

I don't know what to do to fix them and even if I start new seeds, I don't know what to do to prevent it on those too. Can anyone tell me what is wrong please?

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What is wrong with my lettuce?

I don't think it is the quality of the water as much as too much of it. Your mix will hold a lot of water, TOO much in my opinion. I would stop watering for a few days to let it dry out a bit. You can vent away your chlorine from you tap water by filling your watering can one day and use it the next. Al


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RE: What is wrong with my lettuce?

Those transplanted ones were last watered 5 days ago when I transplanted them. It seems I am really overwatering. Do you think they will be ok if I let them dry out or should I start some new seeds? They are in my basement, would it help at all to put on the dehumidifier to remove any moisture in the air also? Also, when watering, I reused the water in the tray the next time. Is that wrong?


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RE: What is wrong with my lettuce?

Are you sure it's not a red leaved variety of lettuce? They start with green seed leaves and gradually acquire their true colour. You say they are ALL doing the same thing which leads me to suspect that is what you have. Do you remember the variety name?

Here is a link that might be useful: Red leaved lettuces


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RE: What is wrong with my lettuce?

No, these are the Bibb lettuce seeds. I did also plant some red ones in a variety pack but they are in a different 6 pack and were planted a week later. The Bibb seeds were planted in 2 6 packs, one with Miracle Gro and one with Jiffy and 6 peat pellets. The Miracle Gro only had a few germinate so there are no pictures of those. The first picture is one that was in a pellet and was transplanted last week. The other pictures are different views of the same 6 pack that has the Jiffy mix. Unless there was a mistake in the package of seeds, they are definitely Bibb seedlings.


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RE: What is wrong with my lettuce?

Forgive me if I'm teaching my grandmother but I don't know how much experience you have so here's a few thoughts.

I believe that Bibb is what we over here call Butterhead lettuce. It's not a cultivar but a type, Lactuca sativa var. capitata, like romaine (L. sativa var. romana which we call Cos). Within the Bibb type there are lots of named cultivars. Is it possible you have a red Bibb? I know I keep on this tack but those seedlings look like perfectly healthy lettuce babies of a red cultivar to me. The uniformity of the coloration and the fact that it is appearing as the true leaves come makes me think that.

It's intriguing. Let us know how they turn out.


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RE: What is wrong with my lettuce?

I have never grown lettuce before so I have no experience with that and this is my first year starting seeds indoors. I usually just start outside.

Yes, it is butterhead bibb. Anything is possible, the package only shows green and I've never seen red Bibb in any stores here so I didn't know there was any. It may be hard to tell in the pictures but they look black. I have some Ruby and some Red variety coming up, they are clearly red.

What's funny is I noticed this morning that it seems some of the black is fading a bit. I hope you are right and it is just a different variety than I was expecting. The true leaves coming up on my romaine look fine and they were watered at the same time as all the others. I still think I'm overwatering though. It's been 6 days and they don't look anywhere close to dry to me.


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Updated pictures of my lettuce

here are some updated photos. Some of the new leaves were still coming in dark/black but then faded to the normal green after a day or two. The first picture was taken 4/5 and the next one was taken 4/11. My other varieties are also doing well and I've been transplanting like crazy. Peppers and tomatoes are all up too and I'm starting to see true leaves coming up in the middle of the peppers.

4/5/11

4/11/11


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RE: What is wrong with my lettuce?

I am growing lettuce for the first time too - Its exciting because right from the early stages, it looks like food. I have been picking off a leaf here and there and nibbling - yum.


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RE: What is wrong with my lettuce?

It is exciting. I'm amazed at how quickly the lettuce is growing. The leaf lettuce is growing very fast too.


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RE: What is wrong with my lettuce?

I agree they look beautiful, but the soil is incredibly wet in all your pictures!! sopping, gooky, saturated soil opens the door to many kinds of fungi and diseases.

Plus, I am of the school of thought that being on the side of underwatering makes the plant stretch its roots to find water, and encourages a more complex root system, which is incredibly beneficial during the summer heat and dryness. Roots need oxygen as well as water to develop.

Just my 2 cents, but let those guys dry out!


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RE: What is wrong with my lettuce?

Ok, I'll keep that in mind. The pictures were taken right after watering. I'm not used to bottom watering and can't tell how much has soaked in until it shows on the top. Should the top still be dry? It didn't feel that wet.


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RE: What is wrong with my lettuce?

Oh.. Wish I had known that, I do the exact same thing when I water, I fill the tray and let the soil soak just like in your pictures.

Sorry for jumping the gun about it.


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