Harvest Your Hydroponic Lettuce Crop

Photo of harvest hydroponic lettuce prepped for serving
After weeks of watching your black Seeded Simpson lettuce grow, it’s finally time to taste the results.

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.

Images showing lettuce at 90 days, leaf lettuce harvest at 98 days, and weighing of edible harvest.

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

Photo of avocado dressing in small glass pitcher
Creamy avacado dressing is a light, mild dressing that complements the flavor of fresh leaf lettuce.

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.

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