What's up with my lettuce

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I live in Louisville -I feel I can say that because the gardening folks on this forum seem to be more calm, must be all that dirt under the fingernails- anyway we've had great weather this spring no late frost no flucuating temps just steady climbing beautiful spring days. This is my first year to grow lettuce. I've gardened my whole life just never grew lettuce (we grew a leaf variety to get exp. this year).

Anyway we've been getting lettuce for weeks I'm almost sick of salads. This morning I was working and noticed that some lettuce was wilting. About two or three bunches were slumped over and kinda slimy. I pulled them up and took them root and all to the other side of the yard and disposed of on the poisen ivy.

What is this? None of my books mention this. Is it like verticillium wilt for lettuce? Will the rest of my crop sucomb to this? These were full heads that had not been cut yet.I water when nec. from below near the stem but in the root zone.

Please help! I'd rather learn this year than not know next year. Forgive spelling and punctuation my wife is not home yet and I need her help on those things.

-- Johnny (jljtm@bellsouth.net), May 12, 1999


Johnny: Do you have gophers? Next time it happens....look closely at the root and stem of the plant. Look for whatever could have disrupted the flow of moisture to the plant from the root zone. Also check the soil...before you pull the plant...maybe it was a spot that did not get water?

-- Mary (CAgdma@homenoaddress.com), May 12, 1999.

Mary no we don't have gophers and if you do I'm sorry. When I went to pull the plant after the leaves broke off in my hand I pulled the root ball up and it came in one piece clinging to soil. Also this ground was sod last year and this is the first crop on it. Thanks!

-- Johnny (jljtm@bellsouth.net), May 13, 1999.


Did you check the stem for any sign of borers. When cukes, squash etc. wilt, it's usually from the squash borer.

Maybe the lettuce was as sick of you as you were if it. :)

-- GeeGee (GeeGee@madtown.com), May 13, 1999.

"Maybe the lettuce was as sick of you as you were if it. :)" I can't stop laughing because later in the summer when the squash gives out this is what we say! LOL!

I always made a point to say nice things around it and kept my thoughts to myself as long as the kids were eating salad. I've been wondering do slugs like lettuce? Maybe they are my culprit/

-- Johnny (jljtm@bellsouth.net), May 13, 1999.

X-URL: http://cygnus.tamu.edu/Texlab/Vegetables/Lettuce/ltop.html

Looks like the top right photo is your lettuce! At this site is info on the eight problems commonly affecting lettuce: Big Vein, Damping-Off, Downy Mildew, Mosaic, Nematodes, Sclerotinia Drop, Soft Rot, Tip Burn.

If it's slugs, encourage possum. They DO eat slugs--have seen them!

Now, lettuce pray. Sorry, wouldn't resist.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), May 13, 1999.

Old Git- yep that's it! Looks worse in the picture, yuk! I was hoping you would see this post but was concerned that is was to far down. The gardening folks on this site are really a nice bunch!

As for the possums I've been feeding them cat food to get that gamey taste out of them in case they become my fresh meat next year. HA!HA! Thanks again for the site. Johnny

-- Johnny (jljtm@bellsouth.net), May 13, 1999.

Johnny, my problem is that the groundhogs are eating all the cute little pea plants. Not for long, tho, they're soon to be history.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), May 13, 1999.

Thanks for the info Old Git. The links you provide are invaluable to us.

Any thoughts on why our 'mater plants leaves are turning black, curling up, and presumably going to fall off?

They were planted in purchased soil [for vegetables], with cow manure [recently purchased as well] and mulched [red coloring added using iron?] Planting was done two weeks ago.

They are hardy plants, sold in this area for heat resistant conditions. Miami FL gets hot, you know! Plus we have had minimal rain lately, although we have just enjoyed a heavy storm yesterday with pea hail! What a pleasure after all the dry weather!

In the same area, but 'planted' earlier, is a plum tomato plant which is doing nicely. We dumped some seeds from a tomato there and they grew. Flowering great. Hope to have some from this one at least.

More info, we have an eggplant bought and planted in the same area and it is doing beautifully! We may jsut get more of them if the 'maters don't make it. Oh, we do water often, using the eggplant as a 'sign' since it wilts first from the heat. Plenty of sun, as mentioned above, and the run off from the fish pond also soaks the soil for two of the 'maters. This is a once a week thing when we top off the pond due to evaporation. When it rains, it does it itself.

Love your input! And thanks again for the links!


-- J (jart5@bellsouth.net), May 13, 1999.

J-Go to that website that old git gave me. It's a treasure! It's raining outside and I'm gonna spend all day there!

Gophers and groundhogs you know they are y2k compliant!

-- Johnny (jljtm@bellsouth.net), May 13, 1999.


Tobacco viruses can be transmitted to tomato plants from cigarette smokers. Tobacco mosaic virus and a few others. If you smoke, wash before handling your tomato plants.

mb in NC

-- mb (mdbutler@coastalnet.com), May 13, 1999.

If you have chickens, try this for lettuce: let them do their thing for six months or so, dig up the ground and, uh, fertilize it. Then fence off that area and let them into another area. The now fenced off area is IDEAL for growing things like lettuce.

Chickens are, of course, required.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), May 13, 1999.

Thank ya'll for such great answers. It's sad to know that the rest of the people here miss so many wonderful, insightful and caring people. I kinda look forward to my next y2k gardening problem so I can hear from you all again.

-- Johnny (jljtm@bellsouth.net), May 13, 1999.


You mentioned that this was the first year this section was planted with a crop....I did some research for you, and it sounds like the soil needs some improving, based on the problem you're describing...

The type of soil you have will of course determine what types of soil amendments you need to mix into the soil, as well as the nutrients needed based on soil tests...

One of the best things you can do for a new bed is to apply a biostimulant which will stimulate the native microbes in the soil...the healthier the soil, the less chance of your plants being attacked by pests or diseases

I have an excellent resource book on organic gardening..."Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening" by J. Howard Garrett and C. Malcolm Beck...one of the biostimulants that is recommended is a concoction called Garrett Juice...it can be purchased ready made...or you can make it yourself...

GARRETT JUICE: (per Gallon of Water)

Compost Tea- use 1 to 2 cups of homemade manure based Seaweed- 1 Tablespoon (liquid) Molasses- 1 Tablespoon Natural Apple Cider Vinegar- 1 Tablespoon

The Garrett Juice can be used directly on the soil to improve it, or it can be used as a foliar spray

for additional insect and disease control add:

1/4 cup garlic tea or garlic-pepper tea per gallon of spray

for tough insects such as fire ants and squash bugs add:

1-2 ounces of citrus oil (d-limonene) per gallon

They also recommend baking soda or potassium Bicarbonate (which is the better of the two): apply at 4 teaspoons per gallon of water.

You might also consider doing companion planting...a strong team grown together is lettuce, carrots, and radishes...lettuce also likes strawberries and cucumbers.

Throughout the book, the Garrett Juice is recommended for solving numerous problems that affect most fruits, and vegetables, as well as roses and other plants (including the tomato problem mentioned earlier).

Hope this helps!...

-- Texas Terri (DeepInTheHeart@Texas.com), May 13, 1999.

The Garrett Juice recipe is not very clear...the way it ran together...let me try again...

GARRETT JUICE (Basic recipe): (per gallon of water)

Manure based compost tea - 1 to 2 cups of homemade

Liquid Seaweed - 1 Tablespoon

Molasses - 1 Tablespoon

Natural Apple Cider Vinegar - 1 Tablespoon

-- Texas Terri (DeepInTheHeart@Texas.com), May 13, 1999.

Technically, you can't be sure any given groundhog is compliant until after Feb 29 next year.

If he (the groundhog) skips leap year in 2000, then in 2001 on Groundhog Day, he will be out-of-sync and will look at the wrong shadow, or the right shadow on the wrong day.

Either way, you're likely to get the wrong weather forecast in 2001 from a non-compliant ground hog. So, lettuce pray too for the poor poison ivy (opposum ivy ?) you put the bad lettuce on top of. Such cruelty!

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), May 13, 1999.

Here's another great site, especially for J because there are tomato links. See also the Master Gardener link at the site (titled Master Gardener Disorders Site. . .), where you'll find graphic, full-color photos of disgusting tomato diseases.

This is the Texas A&M horticulture site and they know all about tomatoes. My Aggie husband certainly knows a healthy tomato when he sees one!


-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), May 14, 1999.

Thanks Old Git! That site is VERY helpful. I found one pix that was close to the problem, Bacterial Spot, but it isn't quite that.

MB may have hit the nail on the head. I have repeatedly said this to 'my gardener' but he pays no heed! Guess I'll just have to butt heads with him again.

By the way, it appears that it is only on the first leaves and the rest of the plant is doing fine! Should have blossoms open by Sunday.

Thanks to all! Keep those nails dirty!

-- J (jart5@bellsouth.net), May 14, 1999.

J - don't think your tomatoes have tobacco mosaic. As I recall, that makes a light-colored pattern on the leaves. MB is right in that smoking cigarettes then touching plants can spread the disease--it can also spread from nicotiana (flowering tobacco), which I like for its beautiful scent and its habit of volunteering in unexpected places. That goes in front, tomatoes in back.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), May 14, 1999.

Robert, the Groundhog problem is more serious than you think. 2 of the 3 official North American 'chucks met very suspicious demises within 24 hours of 1999 Leap Day. Besides, the chucksters usually see their shadows because there are dozens of camera lights aimed at them. Who knows what will happen if there is no power next year! (As I recall, there is also an offical Leap Day clam that forecasts the arrival of spring by spurting either to the right or the left, depending. What if its GPS system malfunctions?)

Working on expanding my veggie garden this year so I, too, can experience beginner's bad luck on some completely new types of crops before next year.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), May 14, 1999.

Thanks again, Old Git, mb.

The plants seem to be okay. Whatever it really is/was, it just affected the first leaves. The growth has really been incredible! They are flowering and now are at least 12" higher than when first planted.

I have shown the thread to 'my gardener' and he has promised not to handle the plants unless he washes his hands first! Also, we both will make sure not to be smoking upwind of them. Seeing as how smoking may be a 'lost luxury' next year, we will have to stop soon.

I for one do not want to go through all this [potential] turmoil of y2k and nicotine withdrawal at the same time.

November has the 'smoke out day' or whatever it's called, I think. At any rate, it is time to quit. Or die trying!!! HA!

-- J (jart5@bellsouth.net), May 17, 1999.

We were wating for a table. The hostess had asked, smoking or non, and we chose the former. Almost immediately, a smoking table came up. But the hostess offered it to the couple in front of us who had wanted a non-smoking table. They took it. I protested, saying that if a non-smoking came first, it wouldn't be offered to a smoker. Got into quite a discussion, which ended up with us eating Mexican instead of Italian. That's when I decided to quit, becaue I knew I would get myself into bad trouble one day. . .!

Now, before that, I had decided I might like to grow and cure my own tobacco. You can grow your own, you know. If anyone wants me to search for info, I will. Believe me, I understand. (Will have to search after today, busy day, but I think this might be a popular topic so don't mind at all.)

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), May 17, 1999.


"Working on expanding my veggie garden this year so I, too, can experience beginner's bad luck on some completely new types of crops before next year."

LOL. Join the club!

Old Git:

"Now, before that, I had decided I might like to grow and cure my own tobacco."

Watch out, Old Git, or we're going to have to find a way to "save you from yourself." Though I have a feeling that might not be terribly easy ...... ;-)

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), May 17, 1999.

Tobacco plants (Nicotiana Tabacum L.) DO suffer from a multitude of ills, among them a large number of colorfully-named viruses, although a personal favorite is a wilting disease known as sore shin and damping-off. (Not contagious to humans, by the way.) Even so, I understand tobacco is fairly easy to grow (in N. Carolina and Virginia, anyway) and is still one of the highest-profit crops around.

Save me from myself? Pah! I know you know that me is very happy with myself and vice versa, especially when we're out on the garden, which we're going to do in a minute!

-- Happy Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), May 17, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ