Top Reasons Your AeroGarden Lettuce Is Bitter

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AeroGarden lettuce has become an increasingly popular choice among people who want fresh produce year round.

If you’ve ever tried growing your own lettuce, then you probably noticed that the lettuce can come out bitter sometimes. Definitely not what you’re expecting when you’re using a smart garden like the AeroGarden

But if you’re wondering why your lettuce tastes so bitter, there could be several reasons. This article will cover the causes and solutions to fixing bitterness.

Lettuce and Salad Greens Growing in AeroGarden
Lettuce and Salad Greens Growing in AeroGarden

1. Nutrient Balance Issues

Tasty AeroGarden lettuce depends on the proper balance of nutrients in the water to grow healthy. If the nutrient levels are too high or low, it can cause stress on plants, which will lead to bitterness.  

When there aren’t enough nutrients, the lettuce won’t get what it needs and lose quality over its taste and appearance. 

On the other hand, if there are too many nutrients, can hurt the plant as it doesn’t get enough water and other things it needs for a proper balance. 

Be sure to keep track of when you add nutrient solution to the AeroGarden lettuce. 

Find nutrient solution available on AeroGarden’s website.

2. Recently Added Nutrients

This is similar to having too much nutrients in the water. It will feel like there’s a higher concentration in the water that will cause the lettuce to taste bitter. 

When you are planning to harvest lettuce, don’t add any liquid plant food for the 2 to 3 days leading up to you harvesting. 

It’s best to add the plant food after harvesting for it to keep growing. 

3. Heat

Being a cool weather crop, lettuce doesn’t like temperatures over 75°F (24°C) and prefers a temperature range between 60° and 70°F. 

When the air starts getting hot, lettuce might start bolting. That means lettuce is starting to produce seeds and a long flower stalk will grow. These chemical reactions lead to a bitter taste. 

To help prevent the lettuce from getting too hot and bolting, keep the area cool and well-circulated for the lettuce. 

The best solution is to use a fan that circulates the air around the AeroGarden. That should keep it cool for lettuce. 

Keep it away from a sunny window as well. The LED lights on the garden kit are meant to provide more than enough light for the lettuce to grow successfully. 

There’s no need to give the lettuce shade as long as they’re not sitting in direct sunlight. Keeping it away from windows and direct light will be enough. 

4. Improper Storage

Harvested lettuce needs to be kept cold, but it should not share the refrigerator drawer with other foods.

If you place lettuce in the same drawer as bananas or pears, the lettuce will spoil and become bitter.

Apples, bananas, and pears release ethylene gas, causing them to ripen and turn brown faster. That will spoil the lettuce, making it taste bitter. 

Freshly harvested lettuce can sometimes also taste bitter. If it’s not a nutrient or heat issue, you can try to store the lettuce in the fridge for a couple days first. Wrap it in a damp paper towel to give it humidity and leave it in the fridge for two days. That should help with the bitterness. 

Be sure to watch over how you’re storing the lettuce to keep it tasting great. 

5. Incorrect Lighting

Another common reason for bitter lettuce is the incorrect amount of light reaching the lettuce leaves. There could be too much or too little light. 

Lights also put out heat, so it’s tied to heat issues. If the LED lights are too close to the leaves, the leaves will get too hot. 

Keep the AeroGarden lights 4 to 6 inches away from the highest lettuce leaves. That will prevent the leaves from becoming too hot and potentially burning. 

Be sure to prune the lettuce height, so that it’s even across the leaves. That way you’re not adjusting the lights for only one leaf. That would result in the other leaves not getting enough light, which will prevent the leaves from growing healthy. 

6. Aged Lettuce

The younger the lettuce leaf, the sweeter and better the lettuce will taste. 

If the lettuce is bitter, it could be that the lettuce has aged too much. As lettuce matures, it will lose its sweetness and turn more bitter. 

Be sure to harvest regularly and not allow the lettuce leaves to die on the plant or that will affect the young leaves as well. 

If the young leaves also taste bitter, you should take the whole lettuce plant out and compost it. Keep the leaves you think are still edible, but the rest should be taken out as the whole plant will have lost its flavor. 

Bitter AeroGarden Lettuce Final Thoughts

All in all, there are many reasons why your AeroGarden lettuce might taste bitter. It’s important to remember that the AeroGarden is designed to grow lettuce, not necessarily to make it taste good. 

That said, there are some things you can do to improve the taste of your AeroGarden lettuce.

For other guides on growing delicious herbs, fruits, and vegetables, check these out:

Find various seed pod options for growing fruits and vegetables on the AeroGarden website, including your ability to customize your own package of 6, 9, and more seed pods.

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Written by:

Henry Bravo
Henry Bravo, a University of California, Davis graduate with a BS in Plant Sciences, combines his expertise in horticulture with a passion for smart technology. He specializes in smart gardens, hydroponics, and robotic lawn care, aiming to enhance gardening practices for families. Henry's articles focus on integrating cutting-edge technology to make gardening more efficient and enjoyable, reflecting his commitment to merging natural greenery with innovative solutions.

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