Saturday, February 4, 2017

Growing Lettuce

I'm eager to try out my new mini greenhouse tables. First crops to try? Lettuce and spinach, both greens that I like eating raw, and both that suffer from slug attacks. 

Ok I've got these nifty tables, what next? I need a container of some sort to hold soil. I could go buy pots or tubs, or I could experiment with repurposing something. I'm choosing the second option, because my focus is on low input/low impact farming. Besides, I priced garden tubs at Costco and they are $20 a piece for half barrel size. Occasionally I find plastic tubs and wooden dresser drawers at the dump, but not nearly enough to use on this project. So my mind kept looking for alternatives. (Not "alternative facts" but alternative pots!) 

How about sturdy cardboard boxes? I have a seemingly endless source of these. Line them with a recycled black plastic trash bag, and so far I have a zero cost growing container. I could fill it with garden soil, but prior experiments show that I aught to spring for promix growing medium if I hope to get good success growing food. So I've decided that I will. For now I will buy it new, but in the future I will look for sources of discarded promix from the local marijuana  growers. 

So l selected some low-sided fruit shipping boxes, lined them with trash bags, cut off the excess plastic, filled them with moistened potting mix. So far, so good. 

I could sow seeds, but to date I've had far better success starting seeds and carefully planting the baby seedlings into individual pots for future transplanting. In anticipation of this experiment, I sowed some seeds. The timing has been good because the seedlings are ready to divide and replant. So into my first box they go.....

Rather than aiming to harvest individual large lettuce heads, I'm opting to first try the cut n come again method. Thus I've planted the seedlings in three rows per box with the intent to harvest leaves by snipping them with a scissors as I cut down a row. Well, that's the plan. We shall see. 

That little red tag you see is a piece of survey tape on which I wrote the name of the variety and date it was started. Just one of my labeling methods. 

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