Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Indoor Lettuce

I'm harvesting lettuce from what has been growing in the cellar. I have four trays - three that I started at the same time and one that I started later. So far I have harvested lettuce seven times, usually right around 3 ounces each time. While that isn't a lot we make the greater part of one meal from the 3 ounces. Sometimes we add carrots, cheese, olives or hard-boiled eggs to make a salad but more often we add a tin or two of sardines to the lettuce.

For the first harvest I picked some of the outside leaves from all three trays - a slow, tedious process. After that I harvested one tray at a time. As shown, I put the fingers of one hand around the lettuce and hold it while I cut it about an inch above the soil surface. I have now cut each tray twice (in addition to the first time when I picked off the outside leaves). I will be interested to see how many times I can cut the plants back and have them regrow. I suspect not more than once more. In the next day or two I will harvest the fourth tray for the first time. I started those seeds on December 1 which means two months from sowing the seeds to the first harvest. For the earlier lettuce I started them October 29 and the first harvest of very small leaves was December 8 and I didn't harvest again until December 31. Two months from planting seed to first harvest is what I have in my outdoor plan - start lettuce seeds March 1, transplant out April 1, begin harvesting May 1.

I planned earlier to harvest some of the kale and mache from the cold frames outside but that hasn't happened. I only cleared the snow off during the one warm spell (it got into the 40s) but they are all covered again and we are expecting another 12 to 18 inches of ice and snow early tomorrow. Tomorrow is also the first day when we have ten hours of sunlight and I was planning to keep the cold frames clear from that date on but will wait for a warmer day to go out and remove the snow.