Well I am happy to report after the money and hours spent in the garden, we had our first harvest!! I will call it harvest 1.5 because it included success and not so much success.
First the success! Our mesclun lettuce crop was outstanding (pictured above after harvesting the first time). The seeds were easy to sew, sprouted successfully and grew quickly to a cutting height for fresh baby green salad. There is enough in these two square feet to provide another first harvest salad and two to three second harvest salads before I refresh the space and let it rest for a second planting later in the season.
Now to the not so successful part. Remember a few weeks back when I was very excited about a Burpee seed starting kit with a watering mat and seemingly foolproof sprouting? Well it obviously was not foolproof enough for me. First, the peat pods do not naturally stay in the correct position, they flip to the side, so when water is added, they flip and expand in the wrong direction. This does not allow the pod to fully expand and makes it almost useless to plant in. Those that did stay upright also had the problem of being too compacted. The peat that you start seeds in should be loose and friable, these were clearly not.
Once the seeds were sewn, it took an abnormally long time for the sprouts to mature (not sure why on that one) and finally, once we tried to extract the seedlings, they broke and the peat pods would not extracate themselves from the container, leaving us with about 40 useless seedlings. Thank goodness some of the items could be directly sewn into the ground and others I had more of in different starting systems.
Now I am not one to trash a product, but I must say there is an easier and more successful way to start seeds than with this product from Burpee. I thought it would be great since their seeds and other products are so good, but I was really dissapointed.
In an effort to make lemonade from this lemon of a product, I cut the radish, leek and onion seedlings off, combined them with the radish seedlings I thinned from the garden and tossed them with the lettuce we harvested. The seedlings added a spice and flavor to the salad that was unmistakable and delcious!
So all in all, we are thrilled with the status of the garded today. The harvest of the lettuce was fun and the satisfaction in eating the salad we made with our own produce was immense. It was clean tasting, not overley processed (what they do to lettuce you buy in a bag…you shouldn’t know from) and healthful. This was the first of many harvests to come, but it was very special