Now that you have successfully grown your hydroponic lettuce for 90+ days, you’re ready to harvest your crop. The best way to measure the success of your hydroponic plant production, is to visually inspect the color, texture of your lettuce leaves and weigh your edible, harvested crop. Below is a summary of my first hydroponic crop harvest of 2022.
Plant description: Lactuca sativa ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ is a loose-leaf, open pollinated lettuce with broad, frilly tender leaves with a delicate, sweet taste. These plants are hardy, easy to grow and vigorous. Typically, Black Seeded Simpson takes about 7-10 weeks to grow from sowing to harvest.
Plant height: Average: 6in / 15.24cm
Plant circumference: Widest leaf area: 2in / 5.08cm
Number of leaves: Average: 6 leaves/plant
Average size of leaves: 6in x2in / 15.24cm x 5.08 cm
Crop weight (grams): 77g
Color of plant leaves: bright green (see photo)
Days to harvest: 98 days
Estimate of crop $ value: $1.14
Overall health of plant: At their 30-day growth point, the lettuce leaves looked limp and spindly. The leaf color and stem strength revived when I set up a fan to increase air flow to the plants during their 12-hour light cycle.
While you can find thousands of great recipes for preparing this fresh, sweet lettuce harvest for eating, I used a 2-minute Creamy Avocado Dressing. This recipe was easy make, I had all the ingredients on hand, and the dressing didn’t overtake the mild fresh lettuce flavor. Here’s a link to download this recipe: https://www.mydaintysoulcurry.com/wprm_print/873
NOTE: I could have (and probably should have) harvested my lettuce two or three weeks sooner, but I didn’t have time and was traveling part of that time. Growing plants hydroponically sometimes allows a little more give and take on harvest schedules. This flexibility on harvest schedules will differ by plant varieties and hydroponic systems.
Get started on the path to incorporating hydroponic gardening into your STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) curriculum through the activities posted on e-LearningTalk or register to join the WVU Extension MOOC.