Worth It? Lettuce Decide

february-2-2009-greenhouse-020-2While waiting for the winter to subside to a mere whisper instead of gale force (for us here in southeast Tennessee), there has been heated activity in the sunroom/greenhouse. New this year are some electrical devices to aid in the business of seed starting.
Paphiopedilum ‘Quasky #3 x Quasky #4’Β  not quite open all the way. I just wanted you to see.january-25-2009-011-2Since the last post about seed starting which can be seen by clicking here, we have made a couple of additional purchases. The total amount spent on non seeds has been a figure we do not wish to disclose here, even though The Financier does not profess to being a reader of this blog. Was, or is it worth it? The pictures will speak for themselves. The second light stand, a two tier job, was purchased after the space under the first one filled up so quickly. A second heat mat was also installed. january-8-2009-019-2february-2-2009-greenhouse-003-2
Shown on the left is the progress report on lettuces as of January 8, 2009. On the right, February 1, 2009.february-2-2009-greenhouse-002-2We have harvested two meals of this lettuce already. It was yummy and so fresh, as it should be. The ruler shows that another salad is ready and waiting to be picked. february-2-2009-greenhouse-028-2The red lettuce, one of two kinds, Revolution and Dazzler, this Revolution is nearly ready to join in the salad bowl. It was planted at the end of December. The green type was planted in late November. There needs to be another sowing soon to have the succession of crops that makes the harvest last longer. These will all be planted in the ground in a few weeks under row cover.
And now for the closing argument…february-5-2008-019-2 The lettuce seedlings sown on January 1, 2008, photo taken Februay 5, 2008 without heat mats or lights. The truth is in our tummies.

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30 Responses to Worth It? Lettuce Decide

  1. Janet says:

    Wow, what a testament for grow lights and a heating mat. I love that orchid too, you take such wonderful photos. GORGEOUS!

    Hi Janet, thanks so much. I am so glad that I went ahead and made the investment this year, and want to know why I waited so long! What a difference it makes.

  2. Gail says:

    Hello dear friend, A well constructed argument and I am wishing we had this wonderful space for home grown lettuces..the stuff in the plastic bags and containers is ok, but not as satisfying as this must be! Lettuce is really lovely…I might add it to the perennial beds this spring along with the chard and asparagus! Gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. Really, the two tier number takes up so little space, it doesn’t have to be in a greenhouse. I am really pleased with the results. I do think the veggies are very ornamental too, especially the red lettuce and chard, and the red chard would look lovely with the muhly grass, an idea I got from Jon’s Mississippi garden.

  3. easygardener says:

    You have presented a very scientific and rigorously argued case for investment in warming hardware. The lettuce would agree – if they could speak (lol.)

    Hi EG, a belated happy blogging birthday to you! Thanks for the support of the investment. I am so glad that lettuce was one of the things planted too, it made the case!

  4. LindaLunda says:

    NICE!!! Werry WERRY NIIIIICE !!! :o)!

    Hi sweet Linda, thanks so much. I am sorry I didn’t like the rat! πŸ™‚

  5. Monica says:

    Tummies are a good place for truth. Fresh lettuce in January is awesome!

    Hi Monica, thanks. Lettuce is a very rewarding indoor crop!

  6. Racquel says:

    Looks like the results speak for themselves! I’ve been looking at a similar lightstand myself. πŸ™‚

    Hi Racquel, thanks, I agree! I am very happy with the two tier and kind of wish I had just gone ahead and gotten a four tier in the first place because it takes up so much less space. One light was not enough. Hope you find one you like!

  7. Frances,
    Okay — I AM convinced! Wonderful experiment — rewarding for you!

    Hi Cameron, thanks, so glad you agree! πŸ™‚

  8. gittan says:

    OH YES! It’s really worth it! Why haven’t I thought about that??? Picking lettuce in januari must be….

    Hi Gittan, thanks. So glad you agree it was worth the expense. One thing I learned this year was that starting the lettuce in November is a good idea, even though the preparations for the holidays keep us so busy at that time. It pays off in January! With your set up you could easily have the same. πŸ™‚

  9. Catherine says:

    Those are great results. I’m trying to convince my husband to set something like this up. Now I will have proof that it’s worth it!

    Hi Catherine, thanks. Yes do show him. The way to a man’s wallet is through his stomach! πŸ™‚

  10. joey- says:

    Yum ~ a tasty success! I love variety lettuces … a dream to harvest enough to eat fresh daily.

    Hi Joey, thanks. I love all the different types that can be grown from seed too. They are so easy with the lights and heat mat. I will be looking for many more interesting varieties.

  11. tina says:

    Boy I feel like I can reach into the screen and pick some yummy lettuce for myself. What a deal! You don’t even have to get cold. Yes, worth it Frances.

    Hi Tina, thanks, help yourself! πŸ™‚ It has been so cold this winter, hasn’t it? Going in to the greenhouse cheers me anyway, but having food growing that is ready to eat is the best!

  12. Hi Frances~
    It was worth it! What a huge difference the mats make. Very interesting. I bet the salads are scrumptious πŸ™‚

    Hi Karrita, thanks. I am so glad you agree it was worth it. These are one time investments, hopefully, although I have read that new bulbs need to be added each year. The lettuce is so sweet and tender, I eat it right there in the greenhouse, but with a little light dressing it is so yummy and a real treat in winter time.

  13. Lola says:

    Hi Frances,
    I love the look of you lettuce. It looks like mine that I have planted in a big black plastic tub {that trees came in from nursery} outside. I also have Swiss Chard that I crop like I do Collard Greens. My carrots, onions, radishes all doing great. Spinach not too good. Maybe a bit too cool for it. It’s all so good fresh from the garden.

    Hi Lola, thanks. How lucky you are to have all those veggies going already. We will catch up with you soon though, I hope! I think spinach is a little harder to germinate that those other greens.

  14. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Oh gosh Frances, you are making me hungry. I think you will be quite satisfied in years to come about your rather, ahem, pricy purchases. It isn’t like it is a one time shot. It is worth it.

    Hi Lisa, I loved your snow angel! πŸ™‚ Thanks for thinking the cost is justified. We will have to see how many years those things last to know whether it was a good purchase, but this year that lettuce sure tastes great!

  15. Rose says:

    I’ve been eyeing these lighted stands myself, Frances, but have been too cheap–er–cautious to buy one. Thanks for the excellent scientific study to support their performance!

    Hi Rose, thanks. I always thought the light stands were too expensive too. I didn’t realize the difference they make for seed starting until seeing them on blogs last year. I found the first one on sale. The two tier one was not on sale but if I had it to do over, I would have bought one four tier. It takes up the same space as the two and more is better in this case.

  16. Cinj says:

    I hope I can afford a heat mat next year. I hope I’m able to do okay without one this year. I still have to wait a while to plant anything that I plan to put out in my garden. I’ll get my garden area set up in my basement yet!

    Hi Cinj, I hope you can too. But some people use the top of their refrigerator, or a heat vent. I would say the lights are more important. A cheap shop light and regular lightbulbs for them work just as well they say too. The fancy set up is not really necessary to get those babies started off right.

  17. Brenda Kula says:

    What a gorgeous first photo you have there, Frances! Oh, we should all jump on the band wagon and grow our own food. After my outing today (Sunday) into the masses, I want to stay home for the next decade and order what I need online. What’s out there in the world is all but unbearable unless you’re young and not cranky yet! I’m 52 later this month, and girl, I’m cranky!

    Hi Brenda, thanks so much. It sure feels good to know exactly what has or has not been used to grow the food we eat from the garden. I know how you feel about going shopping, except plant shopping at nurseries that are well stocked. I do a quite a bit of my buying online. It is so fun to get things delivered too. So sorry you are feeling cranky, try just a smidge of really good chocolate! πŸ™‚

  18. I bet I’ll need a grow mat for my new shed. Your veges look healthy and yummy. My favorite edible garden plant this year was purple Ruffled Basil. That is the best smelling basil ever. It’s so pretty too.

    Hi Anna, thanks. You just might. πŸ™‚ I love the look and smell of the purple basil too, but I love the smell of all the basils. I am ready for spring whether the weather is ready or not.

  19. fairegarden says:

    Darla, Your comment got accidentally deleted, sorry. WordPress has now placed the edit and delete buttons next to each other and a few comments have been deleted by me clicking the wrong thing. My excuse for this one is watching superbowl commercials, HA! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment and remember that you agreed it was worth it. Thanks!

  20. nancybond says:

    Wow, those lettuces look positively yummy! What a healthy way to be able to eat — fresh from the earth and onto your plate! Definitely worth it.

    Hi Nancy, thanks, that lettuce is the most tender ever tasted. I need to put the thinking cap on to figure what else would be good to grow under the lights, maybe spinach, that would stay small enough but still be harvestable. Very rewarding to be gardening and eating during winter too.

  21. VP says:

    Tee hee – a pun NAH would be proud of Frances! You’re off to a good start on your veggies this year πŸ™‚

    Hi VP, thanks. I thought it was a groaner! πŸ™‚

  22. Excellent demonstration!
    There are a couple of good alternatives to heat mats to keep an eye out for – water bed heaters have adjustable thermostats and can often be had for free – outdoor rope lights (in a bed of sand) have about the same wattage (and thus heat) as heat mats.

    Hi David, thanks and welcome. Those are wonderful ideas, I especially like the rope lights and sand idea. Your site is so full of good ideas for veggie growing. I will be by to visit often!

  23. Phillip says:

    That orchid is amazing!

    Hi Phillip, thanks, so nice to see you. There is a second one that has not bloomed since I started blogging, in fact there is no photo of it ever in bloom, so stay tuned for that one. πŸ™‚

  24. TC says:

    Definitely worth it. Alas, we still use old-fashioned methodology; 14 to 16 hours of shop light rays, minus the heat mats.

    Hi TC, so sorry about your winter blahs. Sounds like you need to crank up those shop lights and grow something! πŸ™‚

  25. skeeter says:

    Fresh lettuce during cold winter months! Yes, well worth the efforts! I can only wish for such a room for fresh goodies. We have a wonderful sun room but it belongs to my fur babies and I cannot deny them that room. Sigh, my living breathing souls get priority over the plants. The guest room has one little window and is crammed full of things. No spot for lighting devices. I need a basement or garage so badly…

    Hi Skeeter, thanks for agreeing it is worth it. One taste of that tender lettuce in a nice salad and you would find room, it is a matter of priorities and the fur babies need a safe warm spot to lay about. You don’t need a window with the lights, that is their function, sounds like the guest room is crying out for lettuce! πŸ™‚

  26. I tried some indoor lettuce a few weeks ago but the seeds didn’t germinate. I think I’d better be inspired and try again!

    I hope the mention of Faire Garden on today’s ESTHER IN THE GARDEN (2nd February) is ok, Frances. If not, let me know and I’ll change it.


    Hi Esther, thanks for the link, and of course it is okay. And thanks for letting me know, wordpress used to have a place where all links would show up, now it shows every link including the sidebars, so it is useless to check. I do like to know when someone has mentioned Fairegarden so they can be properly thanked. Do try the lettuce again, maybe with some bottom heat of some kind if you can find some.

  27. Jean says:

    That is certainly a big difference! So yes, it’s worth it. You wouldn’t have had those yummy salads already without the expense of lights and heating mats. Okay, so maybe that’s an expensive salad or two but over the years it’ll work out. πŸ™‚

    Hi Jean, thanks for weighing in. It may will take a few years for this to pay for itself in salads, unless the price of lettuce skyrockets. HA I need to grow something that is unattainable at the grocer’s, oh, I already am, tender as can be freshest in the world lettuce. πŸ™‚

  28. Marnie says:

    I wish I had a place for something like that. Looks like a wonderful setup. I’ve considered using the basement but ruled that out in the long run.

    Hi Marnie, thanks for stopping by. The footprint of the two tier is only twelve by twenty-four inches. That much room can be found, surely, in any home. I tell you, that lettuce is so delicious! πŸ™‚

  29. jodi says:

    What a gorgeous Paph that is! I’ve never tried to grow a paph before, just phalaenopsis, but this one is tempting….
    And (ahem) looking at those salad greens made me want to go look in the fridge for something lettuce like…but I’m going to settle for making a smoothie instead.

    Hi Jodi, oh you need to make the switch to the paphs, they are so much prettier in leaf than the phals. I find them easier to rebloom too, and they are small. I have yet to meet one that I didn’t immediately have to have. Although there was an orchid show at the mall a couple of years ago that had too too many, just bought one. That lettuce is so tender… but smoothies are good too. πŸ™‚

  30. Dreamybee says:

    Um…it’s always worth it! LOL.

    Hi Dreamybee, HA, it might as well be since the money has been spent! You are very astute! πŸ™‚

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