Q. Is leaf-type lettuce easier to grow than the head-type lettuce?

A. Yes. Leaf lettuce generally matures fast which makes it ideal for home garden production. Most leaf-type lettuce varieties will mature in 6 to 7 weeks from seeding. Head lettuce varieties often require 10 to 11 weeks.

Q. Does lettuce seed have to be refrigerated before planting in the garden?

A. No. Although many people believe this, refrigeration is not necessary for germination. Lettuce should be planted in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked. For fall planting, temperatures should average below 80 degrees F. to assure maximum germination and growth of young seedlings.

Q. Why did my lettuce taste so bitter and start to grow tall so quickly?

A. Most home garden lettuce, especially the Bibb variety, goes to seed quickly in high temperature, long-day conditions. It quickly develops a bitter flavor in hot weather. Buttercrunch, Saladbowl, Ruby and Romaine tolerate these adversities more than other varieties and remain sweet and tender longer.

Q. Can you tell me what is causing the tips of my lettuce leaves to turn brown and die when the rest of the leaf looks healthy?

A. Scorch or leaf burn around the margins of lettuce leaves is quite common in gardens. Although in some cases a disease may be associated, this disorder generally is the result of root injury bringing about moisture stress at the leaf margin. Too much fertilizer, nematode injury, root pruning from close cultivation or deficiencies of nutrients such as potassium and calcium can cause marginal leaf burn. This problem is often associated with low soil moisture. As the lettuce approaches maturity, which is a high water use time, cells at the edge of the leaf may dry because the leaves use more water than the roots can take up. Maintaining good moisture by adequate watering and utilization of mulches can help prevent this problem.

Q. Why does my lettuce often flower before forming a head?

A. Probably because it was planted at the wrong time of year. Lettuce needs cool weather to produce quality heads. Hot weather combined with long days cause it to form seed heads or bolt. Bolting may occur without the lettuce forming an edible head.

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