Friday, December 18, 2009

Day 69: Looks like a Christmas Salad is in my Future

Lovely lettuce.

The Butterhead variety grew slower, but I think it tastes better and has better 'form'. 
Whatever that means.  ;o)

I think I waited too long to raise the lights and the small amount of heat coming off them was enought to dry out the tips on some of the leaves.  Oops. 

All-in-all it was a fun experiment.  I've already got some new seeds going in the mesh pots, and I can't wait to start up a new experiment at the local High School.  When I get the Power Point I plan to use to present there all pretty and how I like it, I'll post.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rave Reviews!

Testing day was a success!

For the test, I made a mix of my two home grown varieties and bought some organic lettuce from the grocery store.  The three test groups consisted of a) Wild Harvest Organic spring mix lettuce, b) a mixture of the purchased lettuce and my lettuce, and c) my lettuce only.
*For the mixture (group b), I picked out only certain varieties of lettuce from the spring mix and mixed them with my two varieties*


The 'competition'.


Apparently, Wild Harvest needs to work on the flavor of their lettuce.  It did not get great reviews.


The Wild Harvest lettuce group was described as:  bitter, salty, and just plain not the best.
The mixture of both was actually the favorite group.  I can't say whether or not this was because of my lettuce or because of the varieties I picked out of the Wild Harvest lettuce. 
My lettuce was the second favorite.  This is more than satisfying for me.  The butterhead variety was the favorite among the two I grew, and both were tasty.  I was assured that positively no 'fishy' flavor was detected.  FANTASTIC!  (I would have been happy even if my lettuce had not ranked highly, just as long as it wasn't deemed *funky* in any way.) 


A big THANK YOU to all who participated in the lettuce tasting study!!

*all faces have been conceiled to protect the identities of participants in the event of backlash from the Wild Harvest lettuce people after their poor reviews*  

HA!  I crack myself up sometimes.    ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A few things:

First, harvesting lettuce in a container shoulder high and 3 feet deep is a giant pain in the butt.
Second, the lettuce doesn't appear to be all that disturbed by being crowded.  (but it does make harvesting a little more difficult)
Third, I'm really hoping it works well to grow the plants in the pond baskets full of gravel - it will be so much easier in many ways. (I planted some fresh seeds in them today)
Fourth, I tasted the lettuce and it seems just fine to me.
Fifth, the lettuce on the back side, closest to the exterior window, is definitely bigger than the rest.  Clearly natural light is a hot commodity.
Sixth, I'm thinking about getting some more goldfish and putting them in the top chamber to see how they do.  We'll see.
Seventh, the lettuce is picked and washed and bagged up for testing tomorrow.  I will provide a full report.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 43: Nearing Judgement Day

Believe it or not, I have not actually eaten any of my lettuce yet.  Wrong, so very wrong.  I know.
In fact, I haven't paid much attention to my 'garden' at all.  I feed the fish when I feed the cats (and I must say - thank god I feed the cats in the same room or I probably would forget that, too).  All I've really done is take some pictures on the weekends.  Other than that, the system really seems to be running itself.  This is a major plus, especially for the convenience of small scale home growing.  (but don't tell my fish that - I think they want to go back in the pond in spring)

 I plan to perform my 'blind taste testing' (which, by the way does not mean I'm going to poke anybody's eyes out) on Thanksgiving.  I'm at least fairly confident my family will willingly participate in my experiment, and I know at least my mother will be brutally honest (she is fully prepared to set off the alarm bells if anything should taste even the least bit 'fishy').

I'll elaborate even more on the taste testing once I come up with an evaluation technique and pick the 'competition lettuce' at the grocery store.  Yes, I know Thanksgiving is only two days away!

Oh, the PRESSURE!! 

Until then, have a look-see at the day 43 pictures.  (again, with no ruler - I'm working on it, I swear)




Not real sure what's going on with the basil.  It doesn't appear to be too thrilled with the environment I have provided for it.


Well, if I don't post before Thanksgiving - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
(and wish me luck)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 35: Moving right along

 Things are coming right along in the 'garden'.
The gravel bed is by far my best hope for success right now.  I have a very good feeling this has to do with the fact that these plants were sewn right into the gravel and never moved.  I'm going to try to re-seed the basket planters in the lower chamber and see how those plants do if I just sew them and leave them alone.  I hypothesize they will do much better.

Also, it just now occurred to me that it would have been a good idea to take pictures with a ruler next to the plants so you could actually tell how big they were at each stage.
Oh, well.  Next time.  Live and learn.