0
points
Why are my lettuce seedlings "leggy"?

Lettuce    NY

I started lettuce seedlings about 14 or 15 days ago. I planted them in a seed starting mix in flat trays by planting 3 or 4 seeds together in one hole. I positioned the trays in the bright test window in my house but the seedlings have gone all straggly, or "leggy". and are too long to support themselves so they have started falling over and getting tangled. My other seedlings are doing better. Why is the lettuce doing this? Is it because they need thinning? Will I be able to rescue it or do I need to start over. I really need some help!


Posted by: Jennifer Casey (2 points) Jennifer Casey
Posted: April 17, 2013




Answers

2
points
We get this question a lot from folks starting seedlings in window sills. Usually its lack of light that makes seedlings stretch. This round may be save-able, try setting your trays outside on warm cloudy days that aren't too windy, to harden them off before you plant. You may need to invest in a light system to start seedlings indoors with predictable results, or start your lettuce seedlings a little later so that you can set the trays outside on warm days and bring them back in at night.

best of luck!
Anton


Posted by: Early Morning Farm (3 points) Early Morning Farm
Posted: April 19, 2013




1
point
Your seedlings aren't getting enough light! Purchase an inexpensive fluorescent light fixture to suspend 1-2" above your seedlings as soon as they emerge. Keep lights on for 10-12 hours a day. Turn them off at night - seedlings won't stretch in total darkness. Stretched seedlings rarely grow into healthy plants. I recommend restarting you lettuce seedlings or sowing them directly into the garden. Lettuce grows quickly. Use your leggy seedlings to garnish your next salad!


Posted by: Brick House Acres (9 points) Brick House Acres
Posted: April 19, 2013




0
points
They should be ok to plant out, best not to thin them to start, wait till they are growing on in the ground. Plant out in a group first - lettuce are notorious for going leggy. Tomatoes, if leggy, can just be planted a lot deeper so that it produces lots more roots to stabilize the plant. I always do this even of they aren't leggy.


Posted by: cathy barker (3 points) cathy barker
Posted: April 17, 2013




0
points
If your lettuce feels pliable and silky then it's heat stress; if they're just long and thin then you may need to use a lower nitrogen potting soil.


Posted by: J.D. Archer (31 points) J.D. Archer
Posted: April 17, 2013




0
points
Not enough light, they need to be closer to the light or need more of it. They are reaching for the light that is what makes them leggy.


Posted by: Earthly Remedies by Erin (1 point) Earthly Remedies by Erin
Posted: May 27, 2013




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