Salad Days: Windowsill Lettuces
|Lettuce 'Amaze' looking rather perky a couple of days ago|
I've now planted out all my lettuce seedlings into the coldframes and cloches outside, except the pictured 'Amaze'. As you can see from the above picture they're romping away on our bedroom windowsill.
The initial 22 varieties I sowed are now down to 18 - 2 failed to germinate as reported last month and a further two - Mordore and Musson melted away in the overcrowded legginess that was the initial tray of seedlings. I'll catch up with these and some further varieties I've acquired later on in the year.
This month I've taken delivery of several exciting looking items of kit to trial courtesy of Greenhouse Sensation. My initial efforts have focused on the simplest item they've sent: the small Saladgrow planter, which is suitable for windowsill as well as greenhouse growing.
As you can see it looks like a slightly larger propagator, but there's a twist. The planter sits on top of the horticultural equivalent of a bain-marie (though without the heat) - a lower tray of water and diluted nutrients (provided as part of the kit), complete with a cloth 'wick' dangled from the upper tray which soaks up the water and feeds it through into the compost above. Thus a constant supply of water and nutrients is delivered to the root level and this is one container I won't have to worry about when it comes to holiday watering. I think I've used less compost than with my usual windowbox style containers, but then I might have been using a greater depth than what's needed with them anyway.
It was relatively easy to set up, though I did manage to put the planter feet into the wrong tray at first. Then I started reading the leaflet to find out how I should set things up properly! There are a couple of clarifications with the leaflet I've asked the company to look at and I'm also awaiting an answer to my question on whether the nutrients they supply are suitable for organic growers. I'm also not sure how the water level indicator works: I don't know which way up is correct and I found I could add water to almost overflowing without it showing the tray was full. But overall as you can see it's working well and I'm looking forward to picking our first leaves very soon.
|'Bright and Spicy' mixed salad leaves this morning - sowed on March 5th|
This month I've also learnt:
- Some salad mix packets should really say Sow outdoors all year; ready in 3 weeks under absolutely ideal conditions instead of Sow outdoors all year; ready in 3 weeks. Of course I knew that when I sowed the seeds in the freezing cold over 7 weeks ago, but now I've proved it. ETA is in a couple of weeks...
- It's possible to oversoak peas (um, I forgot them!) - 5 days soaking rather than overnight slows germination down dramatically and the rate to around 50%
How's your salad faring this month?
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