Keeping Your Lettuce From Turning Into Jelly

There are a lot of ways that lettuce can turn into jelly.

A long list of fuzzy moldy slimy diseases.

And they can strike seemingly overnight.

One morning you have a bed of tall romaine lettuce looking perfect for harvest. And the next day … not so perfect

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I’m going to talk about crop rotation as one of the ways to handle lettuce diseases but I those aren’t only tools in your slimy disease tool kit.

Other tool 1: Keep your plants dry!

Conscientious irrigation, improved ventilation, and not packing too many plants into space will all keep diseases from flaring up.

Other tool 2: Variety selection!

Not all lettuces are the same. Some varieties succumb much more readily to disease than others. Try many varieties and find those that work best for you.

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Back to rotation

A lot of these gunky diseases are soil borne.

Which means that you can’t grow lettuce after lettuce after lettuce after lettuce after lettuce after lettuce after ..

They will just keep reinfecting themselves and probably get worse and worse and worse

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But it’s not just lettuce you need to be careful about.

It’s the whole Compositae tribe!

That’s the name of the lettuce crop family. (a.k.a Asteraceae) 

And this family is bigger than you think.

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You might not be surprised that escaroles, radicchio, and all those chicories are Compositae.

But so are a ton of cut flowers – zinnias, sunflowers, calendula, strawflowers, cosmos, and much more.

(So are Jerusalem artichokes – but somehow I doubt you’re growing those in the same rotation as your leafy greens.)

All these crops will transmit many of the same diseases to each other.

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You may have avoided Compositae diseases so far but once they strike you will need to avoid growing any other Compositae crops for a couple of years to break your disease cycles.

Better yet, be proactive in your crop rotation design to avoid having these diseases build up in your soils.

May your lettuce be disease free!


My next free online workshop is on Thursday December 2 at 2pm Eastern & 7pm Eastern …


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