Its been 6 days since the seeds were set up, and since then we have seen tremendous progress, we have 18 grow cubes in total, nine cubes contain a Malabar seed and nine contain a Little Gem seed. the actual set up was a bit difficult as the Malabar seeds are thick and large nearly spherical seeds while the Little Gem seeds are small and very thin seeds, and both seed types face equal challenges. The Malabar seed has such a thick shell that even in the germination station with humidity averaging at 98% and a temperature of about 83º Fahrenheit we have only yet seen one out of the nine emerge from the grow cube. With the Little Gem lettuce, the seeds are so small and light that separating a single seed and placing it inside the grow cube is a large challenge, but since the germination station has been operable at least one sprout (as a result of accidental seed contamination) of the Little Gem is in each grow cube. All of the sprouts, all of the Little Gem and the single Malabar seem to be healthy and thriving, but due to a lack of information on the Little Gem lettuce strain, for the final experiment, we are looking into other types of similar but more common lettuce such as butterball.
We have officially decided to germinate both the little gem seeds and Malabar spinach seeds and based on their success in or environment we can make a final decision on which to implement into the lab. We have a hooded germination tray to keep a high moisture content a heating pad to keep the tray warm, we are still waiting on some insulation to place below the heating pad for safety and cost-effectiveness. Once the seeds sprout and begin to grow, based on how high and how much, and in the case of the Malabar spinach, as it is a vine, whether it will need external support systems and how doable is it. Once the tray is set up I’ll update again.
I spent most of today and yesterday doing research on little gem lettuce for hydroponic growing and comparing it to the Malabar spinach here is some of the bare-bones I’ve gathered-
Little Gem-—Asteraceae family, sunflower
|Hardiness||No zone is given, but fairly heat resistant, matures faster in heat though.|
|Soil temp||40-75 F|
|Height at maturity||4-6”|
|Days to maturity||45-80 days|
|Sun||Full sun, 5 or more hours daily|
|Hydroponic Soil||Clay is good but nitrogen supplements are usually necessary|
|Minimum germination %||80%|
|Fertilizer||Unnecessary, it can be helpful when used very sparingly but it’s iffy based on soil comp. so we don’t need it|
|Pest and disease control||Aphids and slugs are the main killers so we don’t have to worry|
|Climate||Sources said something like Ireland, a lot of moisture and pretty damp soil|
September 4, 2019 Since the hydroponics equipment is pretty dusty we are going to dismantle and clean all of the equipment, then I’ll focus on setting up and adjusting the caps on the tubes to seal and make sure they are completely waterproof. I’m doing some research to find the nutrient solution, rooting for the spinach (clay pebbles?) and a coverage method to protect the roots in the clear tube(white plastic sheets are commonly used by professionals.
August 27, 2019 I’m officially part of WISRD! I’ve decided to join the ongoing hydroponics lab, I read through their past journals and the idea behind the lab seems really interesting as well as the method, the setup is great, but some things that may raise issues are bleaching from the light and water levels in the tubes, I think right now we are still finding how to root the plants in the system and I’ll hopefully have updates soon.