As I write this blog post we’re experiencing one of the first really beautiful Spring days of the year, and one of the first days in weeks where it isn’t raining (thank goodness)! After so many weeks of cold, rain, and snow, I expect our gardeners will be thrilled at the chance to actually start working on their gardens this week! 

This month, we heard from one of our gardeners, Laurie, about what she’s been doing over the winter. We toured Laurie’s outdoor garden space this week, and she has big plans for it, but she’s also been working on growing some stuff indoors via hydroponics. Laurie is an expert in hydroponics and gave a thorough report on the lettuce she harvested most recently. 

Plant description: Lactuca sativa ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ is a loose-leaf, open pollinated lettuce with broad, frilly tender leaves with a delicate, sweet taste. These plants are hardy, easy to grow and vigorous. Typically, Black Seeded Simpson takes about 7-10 weeks to grow from sowing to harvest.

Germinated seeds, 7 days after sowing Germinated seeds, 14 days after sowing

After 98 days, Laurie harvested 77 grams of bright green lettuce, with each plant averaging six leaves. The estimated value of the harvest was $1.14. Of the plant health she said, “At their 30-day growth point, the lettuce leaves looked limp and spindly. The leaf color and stem strength revived when I set up a fan to increase airflow to the plants during their 12-hour light cycle.” 

90 days after sowing, the lettuce is ready to be harvested

To prepare this freshly grown lettuce, Laurie opted for a simple salad. “While you can find thousands of great recipes for preparing this fresh, sweet lettuce harvest for eating, I used this 2-minute Creamy Avocado Dressing. This recipe was easy to make, I had all the ingredients on hand, and the dressing didn’t overtake the mild fresh lettuce flavor.” Here’s a link to download this recipe:

 Finally, she noted, “I could have (and probably should have) harvested my lettuce two or three weeks sooner, but I didn’t have time and was traveling part of that time. Growing plants hydroponically sometimes allows a little more give and take on harvest schedules. This flexibility on harvest schedules will differ by plant varieties and hydroponic systems.” 

Laurie is a prime example of how our gardeners will each bring their own expertise and perspectives to this season, and I’m looking forward to learning from each and every one of them!