Sunday, March 21, 2010
Ahhh, fresh greens for dinner! The first harvest from our tray of mesclun mix. Farmer Man just took the scissors and snipped some greens onto the cutting board. Remember when baby lettuce was all the rage a few years ago in the restaurants? Well, now the buzz is micro-greens, the babiest of the baby greens! (People always seem to want to take everything to the ultimate degree!) Lettuce is an easy crop to start inside, and cutting it this fresh means it's full of nutrition and taste. ANYBODY CAN DO THIS! Sorry to 'shout' but really, anybody can do this. We've used a standard growing tray without holes; here in Brandon you can find them almost anywhere that offers seeds and growing supplies, like the Green Spot, Lindenberg's, maybe Patmore's (I'm not sure) and probably even some of the big box stores that have seed starting supplies (but we like to support the local businesses - don't we?). We've filled the tray with a sterile, soiless mix called Sunshine Mix but it could be Pro Mix or any bagged seed/potting mix. We've seeded the lettuce mix on top in five rather thick rows, covered with a light bit of more soil and about three weeks later - voila! dinner! Lettuce is an easy one to start, especially for new gardeners: it likes it cool, doesn't need a ton of light. No fancy heat mats or grow lights required. Find a cool, bright place and watch your dinner grow. Spinach would be another good one to start with, maybe I should get that organized this afternoon! Just be careful with the watering, since there are no holes in the tray it would be easy to over-water and drown the little babies. We're topping up the water about every three days - you can tell, with a little experience, by the weight of the tray. Don't be fooled by just looking at the soil surface - it will always look dry after a day or so, but there may be plenty of moisture underneath. Once the little plants have a few sets of leaves, we've fertilized when watering by adding a very dilute liquid kelp mixture. The really cool thing is that most of the lettuces in this mix will re-go, and will be able to be re-cut in a few weeks time. Are you going to give it a try?