Good vs Bad Leafy Lettuce
For those just starting getting into hydroponics, growing leafy lettuce in Kratky iceboxes is the preferred method. It’s cheap, easy, and does not require advanced knowledge of hydroponics and plant science. It’s so exciting watching the first plants grow until maturity.
As a beginner, knowing what the plants should look like throughout its growth stages is important. Lettuce buyers look for the best visual qualities such as weight, leaf size, taste, texture, and color. But also whether the center stem is elongated (called bolting). Below are two pics of leafy lettuce that weigh about the same (100g) and were grown under different conditions.
While the upper leaves reach a good size and can be eaten, this lettuce has no marketable value. Buyers will not appreciate the extra weight of the inedible stem.
Often times people will say that bolting is due to “too much heat” but that’s not always true. Give your lettuce plants enough space to grow and you’ll find less occurrences of bolting.