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-   -   Growing Salad Mix, Radishes.. etc. (http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=46877)

FourOaks March 3, 2018 07:52 AM

Growing Salad Mix, Radishes.. etc.
 
Ok, my fine compatriots, Im looking for ideas/advice.


Now that I have joined a Market that sales year round, Im thinking about growing a small quantity of Baby Salad Greens and possibly Radishes. Just something to help fill up the table space, to go along with the Plants and Seedlings. I plan my first day to be March 31 or April 7, so I do have a little time but not much.


I have never been terribly succesful with Lettuce. Ive tried in raised beds, bolted. Last year I built a Hydroponic Rail system, bolted. So Im thinking that by going with "Baby Greens" then I have possibly helped reduce the potential to bolt. Any opinions on this?


Yesterday I was at Southern States and looked at a pack of premade mix. It was 14 Grams of seed for $4.49. Right on the back of the pack was the contents. So I just picked up some of the varieties that they had in individual packs. My Salad Mix will contain, Salad Bowl, Paris Islands, Oak, and Mustard.


I decided to fill up a 1020 tray with soil and sprinkle on the mix. Im attempting to grow these the same way you would Microgreens. Just a couple extra weeks involved.


Im also thinking Radishes might do well this way as well.


Anyone have any thoughts on this? Also, where I might get the salad bags?

oakley March 3, 2018 08:12 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Called 'bread bags'. The webstaurantstore, has them.
[URL="https://www.webstaurantstore.com/search/bread-bags.html"]https://www.webstaurantstore.com/search/bread-bags.html[/URL]

You might read through the 'art of growing micro greens' posting.
Curtis Stone on y-tube has 5 or so good videos just about growing
microgreens. Most valuable info I have found.

I grow all winter. Here is some radish mix in the middle, peas on the left.

oakley March 3, 2018 08:42 AM

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My radish mix, buckwheat/sunflower mix, 5 pea blend, are all fast growers. Radish
about 8-10 days to harvest, peas and sunflower 12-15. All depends on temp and light.

I grow under one single 4ft LED. I can speed up growth by running the light 24/7 for a day
or two. But I usually have more than we can consume.

Salads are all S L O W growing. Mustards a bit faster, 12-15 days.

Your issue might be temps. They all like it a bit cooler, 65-70. Shade cloth might help over
70º. Outside in the garden I can grow all summer season using dense planting and a shade
frame. Dense planting keeps the leaves and soil cooler. Greenhouse growing needs shade
and good fan airflow.

I can easily harvest a bag a day, (just for home/family use). And purchasing by the pound
is so much cheaper. I pay average 7$ per pound. Market growers typically buy 5-20lb bags
to make it profitable.

Typical harvest and last nights salad....I'm guessing 20cents in seed cost buying bulk.

Ann123 March 3, 2018 09:22 AM

That looks delicious and beautiful.

FourOaks March 3, 2018 04:35 PM

Oakley thanks for the input. I like the idea that Salad Greens (in my opinion) would have a much broader customer base, as opposed to Micro Greens.

Also, at my new market, there is a vendor who does nothing but Micro Greens. I dont want to step on any toes, if you know what I mean. Salad Greens are sort of more generic, in a sense.

oakley March 3, 2018 09:45 PM

Ignore my advice. I'm not a market grower...just a market consumer and see
all the mistakes. Good luck with what works for you. And I mean that sincerely.
I'll not continue....in any wasted time....

FourOaks March 3, 2018 11:07 PM

[QUOTE=oakley;686939]Ignore my advice. I'm not a market grower...just a market consumer and see
all the mistakes. Good luck with what works for you. And I mean that sincerely.
I'll not continue....in any waisted time....[/QUOTE]

Well, I dont know how/why that went South. The info you posted was useful. And your view from being a paying customer, is invaluable.

GoDawgs March 5, 2018 09:46 AM

In the fall I grew French Breakfast radishes and a Polish cousin (and pretty much look-alike) Opolanka. They're both about 2" long with a pretty 1/2" white tip. The FB's were started Oct 17, germinated in five days and the first ones were pulled 28 days after that, if that's any help with your timing. Good for succession planting to keep them coming.

FourOaks March 6, 2018 07:19 AM

[QUOTE=GoDawgs;687225]In the fall I grew French Breakfast radishes and a Polish cousin (and pretty much look-alike) Opolanka. They're both about 2" long with a pretty 1/2" white tip. The FB's were started Oct 17, germinated in five days and the first ones were pulled 28 days after that, if that's any help with your timing. Good for succession planting to keep them coming.[/QUOTE]

Im thinking about trying radishes in the 1801 Deep Inserts. Something just for fun. I have the seeds, I need to get them sewn. Today might be a good day.

FourOaks March 6, 2018 04:51 PM

Something else I might try growing in 1020 flats, green onions. If the first batch shows promise, then I might keep sowing them. I dont beleive that true bunching onions have any chance of bolting. I think they will do fine just about all year.

bower March 6, 2018 07:29 PM

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Four Oaks, my friend grows lots of lettuce at her farm and I can tell you what you need to know about bagging baby salad greens. You have to wash and spin the greens before you bag them or they will be unmarketable. It's a bit of a process.
We seed the salad mix pretty densely in a two inch band. For your situation, choose the row that gets the most shade if possible, as in your cooler and moister spot. Lettuce needs lots of moisture or it will bolt and get tough and bitter. Possibly cut and come rows of lettuce might work better for you, as the regular cutting seems to keep them from bolting as easily as well. The better you weed it the faster it'll grow. Maybe a light coloured sheet mulch would work to minimize the weeding.
To harvest the cut and come again lettuce, cut with a knife or scissors at least 1-2 inches from the base. This allows the center leaf to remain intact and the side leaves/partly cut leaves also help it to regenerate faster.
Step two, you need a big tub of clean water. Dump your cut lettuce into that for a minute or two. Swish it around by handfuls to take off any dirt, then pile it onto a drainer tray to let most of the water run off. This process also gets rid of any slugs, aphids etc and gives you an opportunity to pick out any weeds that snuck in.
Step three, we have a big industrial size spinner at the farm but any salad spinner will do if you're trying it out on a small scale. (Another friend got stuck doing commercial lettuce with a home spinner, I hear it was extremely tedious.) You pile the lettuce in, turn the crank and let most of the water run off. The spun lettuce is then transferred to a clean tub ready to bag.
Step four: adjust mix as desired into the bags and weigh on the scale. There should be some air at the top of the bag and enough of ends to tie it shut. Hold the two edges of the bag in your hands and spin the bag around, then tie the two ends in a knot. This keeps air inside as well as moisture and allows you to 'fluff' the lettuce and keeps it from being crushed.
Pack your bags into a tub and put it in the cooler, ready for market mobile. :)
I have some kale and lettuce growing in about the depth of a 1020, had 3 or 4 cuts off it already but we're talking about a 2 inch harvest - itty baby greens. I have more growing in a tub twice as deep which is twice the size (took a week or more longer though) .
Baby Kale is good stuff, grows about twice the rate of lettuce too. Your mustard will probably be the fastest. 8-) Here's my 1020-depth lettuce and kale:

bower March 6, 2018 07:33 PM

I would think 1020 tray is too shallow for green onions? Okay for starting them though.:?!?:

I tried to grow radishes indoors in January one year under lights - they never made a radish for three months. :surprised::evil::? Guess they weren't fooled. :bummer::))

FourOaks March 6, 2018 08:26 PM

Bower thanks for the info. No reason to quote you, as it was all top notch.

As for the green onions... I dont know. Last year I let my seedlings get to fairly decent size, due to laziness. Im thinking they might do ok.

Maybe I will do some in trays, and a bunch in a raised bed.

FourOaks March 6, 2018 08:33 PM

And as pointed out by Bower, I need to find a shady spot. Around here, in this neck of the woods, heat and humidity get here quick.

Another and possibly better option, would be lettuce in the greenhouse in the winter. But, and its a huge but, I would probably have to provide supplemental light. Or Im assuming anyways.

From reading the FaceBook posts provided by my new market, NOBODY has winter grown lettuce. This could be an advantage.

Time to do some research.

PotGarden March 7, 2018 02:52 PM

[QUOTE=bower;687582]I would think 1020 tray is too shallow for green onions? Okay for starting them though.:?!?:

I tried to grow radishes indoors in January one year under lights - they never made a radish for three months. :surprised::evil::? Guess they weren't fooled. :bummer::))[/QUOTE]

Maybe it was day length? I've grown them under lights before....

PotGarden March 7, 2018 02:56 PM

[QUOTE=FourOaks;687594]And as pointed out by Bower, I need to find a shady spot. Around here, in this neck of the woods, heat and humidity get here quick.

Another and possibly better option, would be lettuce in the greenhouse in the winter. But, and its a huge but, I would probably have to provide supplemental light. Or Im assuming anyways.

From reading the FaceBook posts provided by my new market, NOBODY has winter grown lettuce. This could be an advantage.

Time to do some research.[/QUOTE]

I've tried to grow lettuce on Windows indoors. I think it depends on the variety and how much sun. Some of them get really leggy, some are ok. I grow it all year under lights.

BigVanVader March 7, 2018 03:51 PM

French breakfast radish is the best to grow for sales. Quick turnaround and very uniform. Selling bagged lettuce is a huge undertaking if your going to do it for sales. I likely won't wash mine this year. Just not worth it. Mini heads sell really well. The ones from Johnnys are great. I'm moving to more heads and less mix. They get the same $ and wayyyyyy less work.

FourOaks March 7, 2018 04:27 PM

[QUOTE=BigVanVader;687774]French breakfast radish is the best to grow for sales. Quick turnaround and very uniform. Selling bagged lettuce is a huge undertaking if your going to do it for sales. I likely won't wash mine this year. Just not worth it. Mini heads sell really well. The ones from Johnnys are great. I'm moving to more heads and less mix. They get the same $ and wayyyyyy less work.[/QUOTE]

I have 3 or 4 different radishes to try. Speaking of, need to get the seed going.

Yeah, the whole lettuce thing is a real struggle for me. Heads vs. Cut.

I like the idea of cut, because lets be honest, customers are lazy. But it certainly does entail more work. On the other hand, if you do a cut and come again lettuce, then your at a minimum doubling your money. If not possibly tripling or quadrupling. Assuming all the stars align and it doesnt bolt.

Heads on the other hand are tempting because as you said, lot less work. Just pluck and sell. But what you see is what you get.

You mentioned Johnny's. Last year I tried the Rex Variety Lettuce in a homebrew hydroponic rail system.

I wasnt terribly impressed. Small heads, and although they are claimed to be perfect for hydro in a greenhouse, they bolted faster then a couple of other misc. varieties that I had.

Decisions decisions.

FourOaks March 7, 2018 04:35 PM

Something that just came to mind. Im not opposed to the smaller lettuces, and maybe it would work out for the better.

The new market that I will be selling at this year, is in the city and has a "youthful, hipster, foodie" type of clientele. If you know what I am getting at. My previous market that I was at, the main customer base was older folks.

A huge difference in the clientele.

So perhaps the more "gourmet" it seems, the better. :lol:

bower March 7, 2018 05:59 PM

Too true it is a lot of work, but customers are lazy and love a clean looking product. :) The other market bonus is making it a gourmet mix. If you have baby kale or arugula or mizuna or mustard...radiccio, so many possibilities - many of which grow faster than lettuce if anything - they are buying it for the interesting "gourmet" taste blend. And you can tweak and tailor the mix to keep it interesting. And you should get a primo price for that "mix" vs a head of lettuce.

Even head lettuce gets a few minutes dunked in the washtub here to keep it fresh for the market - and will float away slugs or other bugs just by leaving it in water while you rinse out the tub. We wash everything (except tomatoes and peppers), it does wonders for appearance and most of all, shelf life for anything with greens. The farm is organic so we do expect to find a few critters in the lettuce and such. ;)
Re: shade for lettuce, somewhere there's a thread where Oakley described how a shade garden was made to keep lettuce cool all summer - no idea where to find that now.

FourOaks March 7, 2018 06:39 PM

Maybe the best option would be to offer both. Heads, and bagged. Charging more for bagged for the obvious labor.

PureHarvest March 7, 2018 09:09 PM

Can’t stress enough to check out urban farmer Curtis stone on YouTube.
You can search videos on post harvest stations he uses for lettuce washing.
How he bags.
How he grows and harvests, even in summer.
Mostly uses salanova that is a multi cut.
You would need to set up low tunnel hoops with shade cloth to do salanova in NC in summer.
Irrigation from overhead in the morning and mid day to cool the soil. Every day.
His videos are the best I’ve seen. Careful, you might get sucked in and find that you’ll binge watch.

FourOaks March 7, 2018 09:59 PM

[QUOTE=PureHarvest;687856]Can’t stress enough to check out urban farmer Curtis stone on YouTube.
You can search videos on post harvest stations he uses for lettuce washing.
How he bags.
How he grows and harvests, even in summer.
Mostly uses salanova that is a multi cut.
You would need to set up low tunnel hoops with shade cloth to do salanova in NC in summer.
Irrigation from overhead in the morning and mid day to cool the soil. Every day.
His videos are the best I’ve seen. Careful, you might get sucked in and find that you’ll binge watch.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, I started watching his videos way back in time. I think I had originally found him when he had maybe 20 or so videos up.

I disagree with him on certain aspects, but I try to put aside personal feelings, just follow along cause the info is solid, and clearly works.

I have thought about ordering the Salanova, just never have.

As far as summer growing, its worth giving it a shot. For misting I have looked at the PVC saddles that are threaded. You just screw in the appropriate mister, and let it have at it.

Probably 50% shade at a minimum. 65% would probably be better.

FourOaks March 8, 2018 06:22 PM

Well, I decided to go for broke.

I planted Sparkler and French Breakfast Radishes in 1801 Deep pots, along with a short stubby carrot that the variety name escapes me at the moment.

Then, I scattered the remaining seed in one of my raised beds in between the sugar snap peas.

After that, I scattered some of my lettuce mix blend in another raised bed.

Speaking of the lettuce blend, the seeds that were sown in the 1020 flat a few days back is coming along. I brought it inside and put under the lights. Germination really sped up. Seems that the temp swings in the Seedling House was wreaking havoc. Which is something I am trying to learn to work with. Some seeds dont care a bit, some do.

Yesterday, I put some of the lettuce blend in plug trays, just to see what would yield. This afternoon I already spotted some germination. I put the plug trays under the lights, but topped with a piece of clear wrap to help with humidity.

I might end up putting a low tunnel over the raised beds to help encourage germination. I have plenty of scrap GH plastic.

BigVanVader March 8, 2018 07:02 PM

I grew Salanova last year and followed Curtis Stones methods. My issue was that everyone else had salad mix and in Summer I only got 2 cuts. The seed is so expensive plus all the work prepping beds, starting plugs, burning holes in fabric, reconfiguring irrigation, trying to keep them cool, cutting, washing, bagging, weighing, selling about half of it every week :no:. That said every place is different. I am using Landrace and wild lettuces this year. Head lettuce can easily be a mix. If I was going to get serious about salad mix I'd have to have a greens bubbler, a big spinner, and a walk in like Curtis. Otherwise labor eats into the profit too much for me. I also thought Salanova sucked. Taste and texture like cardboard. Could have been my fault though. I'll add that greenhouse cukes are by far my easiest and most profitable crop.

FourOaks March 8, 2018 07:24 PM

[QUOTE=BigVanVader;688070]I grew Salanova last year and followed Curtis Stones methods. My issue was that everyone else had salad mix and in Summer I only got 2 cuts. The seed is so expensive plus all the work prepping beds, starting plugs, burning holes in fabric, reconfiguring irrigation, trying to keep them cool, cutting, washing, bagging, weighing, selling about half of it every week :no:. That said every place is different. I am using Landrace and wild lettuces this year. Head lettuce can easily be a mix. If I was going to get serious about salad mix I'd have to have a greens bubbler, a big spinner, and a walk in like Curtis. Otherwise labor eats into the profit too much for me. I also thought Salanova sucked. Taste and texture like cardboard. Could have been my fault though. I'll add that greenhouse cukes are by far my easiest and most profitable crop.[/QUOTE]

As stated, I havent tried Salanova, but in my experience, lettuce is, well lettuce. Full disclosure, I havent had the best luck with lettuce either. Maybe one of these days Ill learn other wise. :lol:


I will say that last year, the variety "Rex" did have a unique flavor. In my opinion it had a sort of Green Apple/Granny Smith kinda flavor. But then it bolted very quickly so that was that.


Vader, you and I are in a similar region, obviously. There has got to be an easy to grow lettuce that tastes good, and is bolt resistant. Be it heads or a mix.


I think its going to take trialing a bunch of varieties to get it right. As far as "Summer" growing. Even with constant misting, I dont see it doing well. Would definitely have to have a very well drained soil. Cause I can see all kinds of problems if not.


I would like to explore the Hydro setup I had last year again. But keeping the nutrient solution cool enough became a huge problem.


So in the end, I am open minded to both Hydro and Soil grown. Something has to work.

BigVanVader March 8, 2018 07:33 PM

That's why I'm going with the wild and Landrace lettuces. About 25 varieties this year. Whichever do well without help will be allowed to bolt and cross. That way in about 3 years I'll have a mix that taste good and withstands my conditions. Also, all my other lettuce tasted good and had good texture. Salanova seemed to require something beyond normal lettuce care. I've heard that it likely was my clay soil, as apparently some lettuces dislike clay? Idk...but I was not impressed.

bower March 8, 2018 09:43 PM

There's definitely a big difference in bolting time for one lettuce or another. The best one I have found so far is a "Freckles" type lettuce. There was one called "Cherokee" I read about but haven't grown, supposed to withstand heat and drought. Even we can have bad times for lettuce here if it happens to get hot and dry for a spell.

I planted some of my romaine types for heads in the greenhouse. Really impressed with a new one called "Sherwood" billed as a "mini Romaine". It's super dark green and very upright with those thick juicy ribs already, the others are more spreading and softer buttery type leaf. I hope it turns out to be as good as it looks. Will have to save seed if it is!

FourOaks March 9, 2018 08:11 AM

[QUOTE=bower;688102]There's definitely a big difference in bolting time for one lettuce or another. The best one I have found so far is a "Freckles" type lettuce. There was one called "Cherokee" I read about but haven't grown, supposed to withstand heat and drought. Even we can have bad times for lettuce here if it happens to get hot and dry for a spell.

I planted some of my romaine types for heads in the greenhouse. Really impressed with a new one called "Sherwood" billed as a "mini Romaine". It's super dark green and very upright with those thick juicy ribs already, the others are more spreading and softer buttery type leaf. I hope it turns out to be as good as it looks. Will have to save seed if it is![/QUOTE]

I guess I just cant fathom in your neck of the woods, having troubles with heat and lettuce. But, I know it a reality.


On another note, I was looking at Southern Exposure and found "Thai Oakleaf". Supposedly very heat resistant, and only 39 days. I think the DTM is another key to it. Grow fast, and harvest it.

bower March 9, 2018 04:31 PM

BVV's idea is perfect... landrace the lettuce, select the ones that stand up to the conditions. :yes: I hope you have some time to take a few pics for us BVV later in the season. Very interested to see how that works out for you.


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