I am pleased to let you know that things are going very well out in the bean barn. We harvested our first vegetables this week . . . a head of lettuce and a cucumber. To harvest the lettuce, you just pull it out of the nutrient tray. It comes out, roots and all. Then, if you keep the roots moist, the lettuce continues to be alive, and will stay nice and crisp. In fact, it looks so good it would make a pretty centerpiece.
We ate the cucumber, and it was delicious. Not a hint of bitterness, and the skin was smooth tasty, and not waxy or thick. Mrs. PJM was so proud of the head of lettuce, she took it into work to show it off. When she took it in, immediately, everyone wanted to buy it from her. She did not take it in to sell, but to show it off. She finally agreed to sell it, and got $2.50 for it. Then, everyone else wanted one, so she took orders, and basically sold out our entire first crop there all at once.
Seeing how popular the lettuce is, and how well it grows in the channel trays, I decided to order a much larger system. My present test system has spots for growing 36 heads of lettuce. The new one I ordered will have 350 growing slots. A wise move, or just the latest incarnation of my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Only time will tell.
If you remember last Sunday I showed you a little cucumber that was an inch long. Here is that same cucumber today. Notice how much it grew in one week! The cucumbers are grown in buckets that sit on the floor. The bucket is filled with perlite. Once an hour the system fills the buckets up with nutrients, and then the nutrients drain out the bottom, and are taken by a pipe back to the nutrient tank. By keeping the nutrient tank properly balanced, the cucumbers are constantly fed a perfect diet. Seeing that this system is working very well, I ordered the components to triple the number of plants I can grow like this. This system is also used for peppers, tomatoes, and pretty much any other vine like plant.
I have been experimenting with other vine type plants. I am having lots of success, and have found that just about anything will grow in these buckets. You can see below that a watermelon is coming on. Now, the days are getting shorter, so we will have to see if the baby watermelon can grow into a ripe fruit with shorter and shorter winter days.
With the successful production of cucumbers and lettuce, and with the successful sale of the lettuce crop, I feel I am growing ever closer to achieving my dream of being a gentleman farmer.