Thursday, November 20, 2008

Florida Petite plants sure are petite

After reading my post regarding the Florida Petite tomatoes someone asked if I was sure that it is the world's smallest tomato.

At this point I would not bet the farm on that statement, but they sure are small.
The plant in this photo is all of seven inches high!

If someone has a plant with fruit that is shorter than seven inches I sure would like to see it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008 should be

Sometime back in search of unusual varieties of vegetables I placed an online order with

Although I received the seeds with no problem, I have yet to have any of the lettuce seeds germinate. I have tried, without success, rockwool cubes with bottom heat, moist paper towels under several temperature conditions, and over night soaking of the seeds in dilute hydrogen peroxide and water.

Not a single seed has germinated, so I wrote to their email address twice asking for either advice or replacement seeds. I have received no response.

I usually order online and have never had a problem with the products or service, however, this time was a disappointment. Going forward I will stick to the larger vendors such as Johnny Seeds, Thompson & Morgan and Jung.

As for, shame on you....

ps. In mid December I tried about fifty more lettuce seeds and not a single one germinated. Damn, what are the odds against that? They must have been storing these seeds since the Civil War.

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.