“Let’s Grow Veggie!” 101

About a month ago, on 6 Aug (Monday), I brought home three mini paper cups of baby lettuce from the inaugural Singapore Mini Maker Faire held at Science Centre Singapore.

The lettuce were bought from Evon Tay, one of the Makers at the Faire, and two of them were meant for two friends whom I knew had passion in gardening. Evon advocates a DIY Lifestyle movement based on a series of alternative and sustainable lifestyle choices that urban dwellers can take on a daily basis.

Here is the growth progress of my baby lettuce!

Growth of the baby lettuce plant in 4 weeks

It was interesting to observe that a new leaf will appear every week, and the observation alone also cause some minor excitement and anticipation, even after the first week of discovery. Each new leaf grows to about 1 ½ inch in about a week’s time, and it is so exciting to see the baby lettuce slowly growing!

Unfortunately, by the fourth week, I noticed some leaves at the bottom of the plant slowly curled up and turned yellow. I was  a little worried because I was not sure of the reason.

Was it because that week’s weather was particularly cloudy (lack of sun)? Or was it because the plant was overwatered (as the soil was still damp)? Could it be that I am not watering enough because there are now more leaves vying for water (even though the soil is damp and excessive water are  draining out of the drainage holes)? Or have I put in too little soil and it couldn’t hold the water for the plant? Have I over-fertilised the plant? The yellowing and curling leaves seemed signs of over-fertilisation as well.

Anyway, my immediate solution was to harvest the lettuce first (and let it grow new leaves). According to Evon’s handmade guide, the baby lettuce would be ready for harvest in 3-4 weeks’ time. It was about time anyway. 15 snips were all it took, and all the lettuce leaves went into a bowl ready to go into my soup.

A bowl of homegrown baby lettuce leaves!

And the plant then looks like this next. 🙂

Phase 2 of the lettuce growing begins here!

I later learnt (though “re-learn” might be a better word) that with more leaves, there are more surface area for loss of moisture. Plants lose moisture through the stomatal pores found on the underside of leaves (primary school level science knowledge which I have casted aside). It might have been coupled with over-fertilisation which also meant I need to increase the amount of water I give to the baby lettuce plant. Even so, I was not confident to flush the plant with water since I was afraid of returning home one day to find the plant drowned.

Well, I should really arm myself with more relevant knowledge to embark on my next 4 weeks of lettuce growing!

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