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Lettuce leaves becoming tough

EmerionEmerion Carmarthenshire Posts: 420
I’ve been trying to crop my lettuce leaves over 10 weeks from the same plants, using Charles Dowding‘s method. This is to gently remove the outer leaves, composting all yellow ones, always leaving a reasonable-sized mini-lettuce in the middle, and gradually revealing a stem. It must work for him because he sells bagged salads, and they wouldn’t sell if the leaves were not nice. But I find that the leaves gradually get bitter and tough after maybe a month at most. I’m watering well when there’s no rain, and they look nice and healthy. I’ve tried this with quite a few varieties.  Have you managed better? 

If at first you don’t succeed, have some cake. 


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,633
    I don't think heat is good for them.  I am now growing oak leaf lettuces in a long window box on the north facing terrace so no direct sun and water every day.   We just pick off outer leaves as and when we want and they are sweet and tender and not at all tough or bitter like the ones I've previously grown down in the veg plot.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    edited June 2020
    You might want to try a variety like Johnsons Salad Bowl.

    I've been harvesting the leaves for months and it is producing way more than we can ever eat. Truly chuffed as it is my first year with this variety and it has been a real star.

    If the leaves mature before I can pick them, I simply have a clear out for the compost heap and a few days later, there are fresh new leaves that are as tasty as the first.
  • Sabina13Sabina13 Posts: 113
    I'm still growing little gem, and watering everyday; it's coming up to end of 2 months I've been harvesting from them and they're still growing strong! I've not noticed any differences in taste either. Might your lettuces have bolted? 
  • PlashingPlashing Posts: 295
    I have grown Johnson's mixed green leaves and they are doing very well tender and productive.
  • EmerionEmerion Carmarthenshire Posts: 420
    Hi, thanks for those thoughts everyone. No, they haven’t bolted, they still look like little lettuces. I bet it’s the sun/heat thing. Now I feel motivated to try again. 
    If at first you don’t succeed, have some cake. 
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