With most experiments I've ever conducted (either in a professional capacity or my own amateurish potterings), the results often garner more questions than answers*. You may recall I concluded in last month's Salad Days there may be a slight advantage if winter indoor pea shoot growing is started off in a propagator.
However this answer inspired the following additional questions:
- Were the results repeatable, or a one-off?
- Would later growth or potential cropping times be affected?
- Would using a heated propagator make a bigger difference?
- Is there a difference in windowsill growing upstairs vs downstairs? (I was speculating the difference in height might have helped January's emergence/growth)
- What difference (if any) did soaking the peas first make to germination times?
- What difference does windowsill aspect make? (I'm currently using south facing windowsills; I found last year I had to switch to westerly when the light and heat in March seemed too strong for my shoots)
Results of the growth observations (Question 2)
Although both trays had their lids removed from the first measurement onwards, the increased growth observed with the peas started in the tray with the propagator lid on continued for the rest of the growing period. Whether the increased yield at the time of picking is significant needs further investigation and is probably minimal for my scale of growing. NB some of these shoots were used to make the yummy Sprouted Lentil and Pea Shoot Salad :)
Results of the heated vs unheated propagator and upstairs vs downstairs emergence rates (Questions 3 and 4, plus a little bit of 1)
The peas started in the upstairs non-heated propagator emerged the earliest and have the highest germination rate. There is very little difference to choose between the emergence rates for peas placed in the kitchen (downstairs) non-heated propagator and the upstairs heated propagator. I'm now measuring growth rates and on average so far they're at 85mm (kitchen) and 105mm (upstairs, both propagators). I'll continue with these measurements over the next few weeks.
The pea emergence start day and overall curve for the non-heated propagator is similar to that seen last month, so it looks like the results are repeatable for propagator use at least.
It's been an interesting few weeks conducting these experiments. It looks like I can save some of my electricity bill by not using heat for my indoor growing**. I like that I managed to pick my pea shoots a week earlier than last year, though whether I've significantly increased the actual crop obtained each time is questionable (though on a commercial scale there should be an advantage, they will be using giant propagators i.e. greenhouses and polytunnels ** after all...).
However for both the upstairs vs downstairs comparison and cropping times, there are too many variables not eliminated from these experiments. This year's earlier pickings could be due to e.g. better light levels this year; the poorer performance downstairs seen so far might not be due to lower light levels as I first pondered, but to lower temperatures (heat does rise after all), or both.
What is certain though at the end of this post, is I still have more questions than answers!
* = A bonus point to everyone who remembers this was a song by Johnny Nash ;)
** = so I've started off my chillis instead
*** = I don't have either of these, hence my windowsill growing and propagator ponderings
One further question: how's your salad progressing this month? Tell all in the comments, or add the link to your blog post in Mr Linky below...