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My Favorite Season

May 9th, 2017

Salads are one of my favorite meals, I can eat them every single day and never tire of them. I love that you can top lettuce with a wide variety of protein, fruit, and vegetables to have a different meal every day. In the spring, I plant enough seedlings so that I can harvest a leaf or two from each plant and have enough for at least a side salad for each of us at dinner.

That makes for a lot of lettuce plants, but they grow when nothing else needs garden space. As soon as the plants are growing more quickly and producing more leaves, some of the lettuce plants are removed to make way for other crops.

What’s your favorite vegetable to grow yourself?

Salanova® Red Butter Lettuce

May 3rd, 2017

I order a lot of seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, they’re located right up the road from me. Supporting local businesses is important, as well as supporting businesses like Johnny’s that are employee owned. Johnny’s is a farm supply place, so their offerings are sometimes different than what most consumer market seed houses provide. One of the products I’ve been noticing in their catalogs the last few years is Salanova® lettuce. It’s designer lettuce seed to be sure and comes with the price to prove it. This year I finally took the plunge and ordered one pack of seed. One packet of seeds costs $5.45, it contains a minimum of 25 seeds. Yes you read that correctly, 25 seeds. Of course they overpack, so I ended up with roughly 40 pelleted seeds in my pack.



So far I’ve planted 12 of the seeds and had 100% germinate rate. The pelleted seeds are nice because it’s super easy to plant one seed per soil block. The result is that there is zero thinning. The plants are super uniform in size, which makes complete sense since they’re geared towards commercial production. I noticed that each plant grows at the same rate and is very consistent in shape and size.

Overall, I’m a fan of this type of lettuce. I’ll keep you posted on how well it continues to grow, what it looks like at harvest, and most importantly….how it tastes!

Germination Notes

March 8th, 2017

Every year I watch closely as I start seeds, taking note of germination rates for new seed and old seed. Lettuce is one of those things that I started buying fresh each year after noticing reduced germination from even year old seed. This year, I purchased a few new varieties to try.


I noticed that one variety in particular has not germinated at all – zero seeds have germinated. With other varieties I have around 95% germination rate. Instead of writing them off (or writing the company), I decided to give them another go. Yesterday I seeded three more soil blocks of ‘Alkindus’ lettuce. I’ll keep my eye on them, if I don’t get any germination this time around I’ll definitely write the company and see if they’ve had similar complaints. Since I had such great germination of all other varieties in the flat, I know it’s not the conditions.

Do you have certain seed you buy fresh each year? Have you noticed decreased germination rates in old seed?

Getting Close

January 16th, 2017

Those spicy microgreens I seeded last week are just about to the stage where I can start harvesting them. I think I can seed them a little more thickly next time. The seeds are supposed to be around 1/4″ apart in the flat. They are quite spicy, I plucked one little seedling from the flat as I watered them and it provided a nice punch of flavor!
spicy microgreens 1
spicy microgreens 2
You’re supposed to harvest them when they get their first set of true leaves, mine are just getting their first true leaf. Technically they are ready to harvest today through Thursday, which is the 10-15 days stated that it takes. I’m going to wait until Thurs, if my office was warmer, they would probably be larger now. I’ll let them get about twice this big, which will provide us with 4-6 meals from my two flats of greens. I’ll definitely be getting a few more flats going this week.

Is anything in season in your area?

And They’re Off…

January 9th, 2017

The spicy microgreens I seeded under the grow light are growing. Obviously the flat I put on the heating mat germinated quicker, but the second try caught up quickly and they’re pretty much the same now. Which shows that with these the heat mat isn’t worth using.
spicy-microgreens-under-the-grow-light
These are supposed to be ready to harvest in 10 days to 2 weeks, as soon as the first set of true leaves appears. I’m anxiously watching and waiting to see how long it takes and what they taste like. While I’d never grow enough greens for an entire salad like this, they will be nice to add a bit of green to certain dishes, like fajitas, soups, or omelets. I’m thinking of seeding a tray of cilantro microgreens for enjoying on fajitas in a few weeks.

What’s growing in your house this winter?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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