Pathetic lettuce

JudyNJudyN Posts: 84
I've been trying to grow mixed lettuce/salad leaves in my conservatory. The results are a bit pathetic. The photo below is about as good as they ever get (in fact recently they've been more like the container on the left rather than the right) - I have a couple of pots that produced a few leaves and have stayed pretty much the same for about three weeks. And if they do progress, all they do is bolt.

Some have been in Durston's peat-free multipurpose compost, some in my own compost from the compost bin - the only difference is that the pots with homemade compost also produce a few nettle/tomato/assorted weed seedlings as well :D The conservatory is east facing but because of the trees at the end of the garden that you can see in the photo doesn't get a vast amount of light. It doesn't get overly hot, though obviously it's been warm of late, particularly as we've been closing it off to keep the house cooler. But they were pathetic before the really hot spell too.

I've not been feeding them, beyond a splash of Baby Bio when I've been doing the houseplants, but I'd have thought the compost would have at least enough nutrients to get them past this stage.

Any suggestions as to cause and remedy, please? I try to grow my own really just to reduce plastic use but it's quite possible there's more plastic from the bags the compost comes in than the amount I'd save by not buying bags of mixed leaves.

BTW, I've tried growing them outside in the past but between the slugs and the leaf miners they've been even less successful.


  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 25,585
    What's the temperature in there. Lettuces don't like it too hot
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 50,667
    I agree with Nutcutlet ... I think it's too warm in there ... they're not keen on that

    I've had a brilliant crop of lettuce this year but the seedlings were planted out in the veg patch back in early June ... the veg patch was treated with slug nematodes la couple of years ago and we've had very few serious marauders since then.  

    The veg patch has lots of home made compost applied each year, Blood, Fish and Bone applied before planting and chicken manure pellets for the leafy veg such as lettuce as it's high in nitrogen which is what they need. 
    'There's a flower that shall be mine, 'tis the little celandine.' W Wordsworth

  • JudyNJudyN Posts: 84
    Thanks, Nutcutlet and Dovefromabove - maybe it simply has been to warm for them.

    We have a real issue with slugs here. Nematodes worked well last year but not so this year. I've applied them three times this year - one failed as we had torrental rain shortly after but the other two didn't seem to have much effect and had no excuses. New plants disappeared within days of planting. I've thrown in the towel and decided to stick to slug-resistant plants from now on. Goodbye salvias, hello penstemons!
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 50,667
    Now that's a puzzle ... I've never had slug damage on my salvias ... but the penstemons often get chomped when they're small ... I don't plant them out until they're quite robust. 
    'There's a flower that shall be mine, 'tis the little celandine.' W Wordsworth

  • JudyNJudyN Posts: 84
    Our slugs & snails must have different tastes, Dovefromabove - my penstemons are fine. My echinaceas were touch & go for a while but have just about made it. I planted a couple of verbascums a few weeks back which are supposed to be slug resistant, but they were stripped bare within a week.

    I have a beautiful iris next to my pond and thankfully the nematodes did work on that - just - because in previous years slugs and snails have literally eaten every flower head completely off. I've still had to supplement the nematodes with several sessions with sharp snippers. You'd think the frogs and newts would at least make a bit of an effort!

    I have three hostas on top of an old sewing machine table with a marble top and rusty metal legs, right at the back of the patio and they STILL have holes in!
  • Mary370Mary370 Limerick, Ireland Posts: 1,390
    @JudyN should place the legs of the old sewing machine in plastic saucers filled with salt, that should keep the slugs from climbing up the legs.
  • JudyNJudyN Posts: 84
    Brilliant idea, Mary370 - thank you :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 23,167
    edited July 2018
    Even here - I'm struggling to keep my lettuces from bolting in this weird spell of weather.  I grow in pots - easier to keep the molluscs at bay, Judy.
    I keep them in shady locations though - they don't perform well in full sun   :)
    Oh the devil in me said, go down to the shed
    I know where I belong

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