Lettuce is the most often grown vegetable in the world. With small, fine seeds, this plant is easy to grow and is found in countries all over the world. Gardening with lettuce is easy even for novice gardeners, but the plants can be delicate to environmental threats. Often pesticides or insecticides are used to protect the crops, but improper use can lead to leftover toxins on the seeds.
Lettuce seeds are very small, but are easy to remove from the parent and place into the soil. They are relatively quick growing and do well in temperate climates. Seeds that have been removed can be placed into cold storage for up to three years and still be viable for plantation.
Lettuce can be affected by a number of environmental threats, the worst of which are aphids, tipburn and foliage rots. Gardeners commonly use pesticides to combat these threats and adjust the garden to meet crop needs. Providing simple improvements (such as good soil, proper light, adequate air and water drainage) are enough to fight off a large portion of these conditions.
Effects of Pesticides
Pesticides sink deep into the soil and can accumulate in food, especially in areas of little precipitation. Pesticides absorbed by lettuce seeds and into the roots of the parent plant can lead to a certain level of toxicity when ingested into the body. Symptoms like neurotoxicity, asthma and even cancer can all develop as the chemicals begin to build.
Large doses of pesticides can eventually cause severe damage to crops, so it is especially important to follow all the manufacturer guidelines before use. Animal habits can be affected along the with vegetation in the local area. Areas with diverse ecology are the most sensitive to these threats. Affecting one food source can have a large chain reaction that disrupts the biological functions of the crops, its pollinators and the predators that use them for food.
One of the most common solutions for removing the risks of toxicity from the garden is by using environmentally safe biological predators or compounds instead of chemicals. Studies have shown that most organic sprays available on the market have the same effectiveness as synthesized varieties, without the same level of biological threat. All foods that have come in contact with pesticides of any kind should be washed thoroughly before eating.