Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hydroponic Lettuce

The lettuce in the photo above has been growing in our basement under full spectrum fluorescent lighting for a few weeks. While in the process of changing one of the ebb and flow systems, I placed some of the plants in the greenhouse to take advantage of the afternoon sun.

I still marvel at the quality of the vegetables that I can grow hydroponically, indoors, or in the greenhouse. These plants have never been exposed to weather extremes, or insects, and have had all of their nutrient requirements met without having to expend energy searching for them.

The plants are a week or so from the salad bowl, and we have already harvested a number of plants. I am trying to have a succession of plants going by planting three or four seeds a week. My next batch will be oriental lettuce varieties using imported seed from China, Korea and Japan. That may prove interesting indeed.

I wonder if there would be a market for "gourmet lettuce" in the off season? Producing the plants does not require a great deal of effort, at least in my opinion. The results are consistent and predictable if the proper conditions are maintained. In this case; the TDS is in the 800 to 850 range, the pH is 6 to 6.5 and the photoperiod is 14 hours.

The plants above are from left to right (front row) :Antigo, Waldman's Dark Green, Antigo, (back row) Grand Rapids, Silva and Parris Island.

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