Thin leaves and stem break easy

Asked December 5, 2016, 6:23 PM EST

I have four Deep water culture system in my apartment. I produce butterhead lettuce, swiss chard, basil, kale, etc. I have great a production. For example, the Swiss chard got nice big very green leaves. Same for the lancination kale. When I touch the leaves of what seems to be a very bright healthy plant, I feel the leaves are very thin and break easy. When you harvest a few leaves and accidentally touch another leaves, often the stem of the other leaf will break easily. But it all look very healthy, firm nice and strong. Look! The taste is very good. we use those for our juicing. Everything grow inside. I use a few 400W fluorescent T% grow light and a couple LED full sun spectrum equivalent 600W. Is it normal to have easily breaking leak like that???

Miami-Dade County Florida

3 Responses

Thanks for your question. What you're describing is consistent with calcium deficiency, a somewhat common problem in hydroponic growing environments. (We tend to equate calcium deficiency with blossom end rot in soil-grown plants which produce fruits, which can be 'cured' by adding lime--calcium carbonate--to 'sweeten' the soil, which brings up the pH from acidic to neutral.) But this can also happen in non fruit-bearing plants.

I'm attaching a link to an article that describes the problem, and recommends adding calcium nitrate or other calcium salts. Once you observe the leaf problems you've described, though, it's probably 'too late' for those particular leaves, and you need to act more preventively.

Hope this is helpful!

Thank you for your answer. I just read te artice but it refers to leaf burning tips. In my case te leaves of swiss card for example look all green all the way, A very rich color green. The leaf look extremely tender. If you touch to rough te leaf break like the leaf looks very thin. Not tick enough

Older leaves show tip browning. Newer growth is fragile. Both are indications of calcium deficiency (see later in the article.) Try adding calcium nitrate and see if new growth is stronger!