Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Merlot lettuce

The plants in the above photo are Merlot lettuce that has been growing in an ebb and flow system under T5 lights in the basement. Merlot is supposed to be: "The very darkest of all reds for salad, and very highest in antioxidant anthocyanins." The lettuce you purchase in your produce section is most likely grown for its commercial productivity, rather than its health benefits. Just another reason to consider if you are thinking of growing your own.

We have had an unusual period of sunny mild weather in upstate New York recently, and that has allowed me to place several plants in the greenhouse each day to take advantage of four or five hours of natural light.

I find that although the plants grow fine under the fluorescent lighting, Merlot, and other pigmented lettuce, will obtain much more intense coloration if they are given high levels of sunlight. Not that color has any effect on the taste of the lettuce, but it certainly adds some eye appeal.

This variety almost looks as attractive as a house plant, and is almost too attractive to pick. Almost, but not quite.

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