Time for an update to the current lettuce grow in both the 1st and 2nd DWC systems. Journal entries for the past few weeks have been pretty simple; "added a gallon of fresh water", "checked PH", "PH normal", "growth is solid", "roots are expanding well, etc.".
Below are photos of both systems as of 13 March, 2011. I will refer to the mature lettuce system as DWC 1, and the juveniles as DWC 2.
Below is DWC 2. The lettuce in this system is growing quite well and each group has more than three leaves. All pots have roots extending at least six inches into the nutrients and are very healthy. These varieties are part of Totally Tomatoes "Bon Vivant Mesclun Blend". It is described as "a gourmet blend of exotic leaf lettuces of the best flavors, textures, and colors from reds to greens". The seed packet identifies at least seven varieties in the mix and I attempted to germinate and then thin to the 7 varieties. I attempted this by separating 7 different variants of seeds, but it was not easy or precise. I notice at least 5 different varieties as of now, but hopefully further growth will show the additional two as individual differences continue to appear. There are 2 varieties per net pot in this system.
Below is DWC 1. This has been in operation for several weeks and has produced heavily. We have harvested nearly every other day and it rebounds quickly. This system contains a couple net pots with 2 plants each. Since it appeared manageable early on, I decided to proceed with the technique in the 2nd DWC system. I believe that remains feasible. It doesn't necessarily improve the quantity nor does it crowd, but it will allow 2 types of lettuces as I have done with DWC 2. It was a good experiment and I will use the outcome when dealing with "mixes" of different un-separated varieties in a package.
The roots are denser than was shown in the February photo, and the center "baby" leaves are much tighter and faster growing. Those are by far the best leaves for flavor.
I believe I have the timing in place to allow a smooth transition from systems without any delay in lettuce harvests. The DWC method continues to prove itself as trouble free and highly effective in growing solid plants.