Anyone going to give this a try this year? I've been trying to figure out what I think about it, and I admit - I'm skeptical. Thoughts?
Johnnys is always trying to come up with the 'next big thing'. It's kind of silly sometimes, like last years 'flower sprouts'. But I guess they're just doing what they can to sell seeds. Can't blame them. The Dutch seed company Rijk Zwaan is really the one that's pushing it.
If the leaves are actually the size they say, the idea of one head that can be cut easily into mix size is probably smart for some situations. Whenever direct seeding is difficult due to weed load, hot weather, etc, then transplanting heads makes good sense (if it doesn't tip burn).
Who knows, market customers might like it in the kitchen. I didn't think that tearing lettuce leaves was really on anyones list of 'difficult tasks' but maybe this could appeal to some.
I found that Johnnys is not the only one with this type of lettuce and "Salanova" is just a brand name (an expensive one too).
I ordered some "red multi-leaf" from Osborne seed that seems to be similar enough without the (TM).
My plan is to start them on heat late October and transplant them into the hoophouse to fill in gaps wherever I can. Then when the direct seeded lettuce for salad mix stops growing, I may have some lettuce to add to the other things in the mix. This is assuming the heads will hold at full size.
I'm not quite ready to make it a big part of my market plan....
I did a similar thing to the Salanova using the Summer Crisp type lettuces.
Here are the 5 types I grew this winter.
Here is another picture of them growing last November.
I am switching from the salad mix to these mini-heads this year. It is alot less labor and I can sell them for less and end up making more. I was selling the mini-heads for $2.50 each. Most were over 1 pound each. The best was, cut, dunk in water, shake off and bag. I never brought any home from the winter markets.
i bought into it. we'll see how it goes. salad mix is very popular at our market. if this cuts down on the time it takes to get it ready it will be a winner. we'll still do head lettuce.
Salad mix isn't too popular. I can sell it, but I don't sell enough of it to justify the time it takes to harvest, wash, dry and bag. I am looking at ways to lower my labor this year. Not doing salad mix is one of them. Another way is buying and using more tractor tillage. The carrot washer/Root crop washer and finally my mulch layer (if I can get it built)!
Our grocery store sells a couple of interesting things. One is where the lettuce is still sort of live. The other is four heads of lettuce in a package. They're small heads, two red two green. It seems the would be easier and also longer lasting than the salad mix. I assumed this was what the salanova thing was.
Vicky, I'm not sure if the 4 pack of baby lettuce is whats being talked about (but the live lettuce sounds interesting).
Salanova is a lettuce head thats made up of small, salad sized leaves. Not large leaves like usual. You have the option of using their patented cutter for it.
If you type in Salanova in your search box you might come up with something like I have linked below. There are also videos on Youtube.
Here is a link that might be useful: Salanova
I'll look more closely next time I go to the grocery store and see if it specifies what varieties. I purchased one once just to try it and it is tons better than those bags Dole puts out of salad mix. What I remember about the "living" lettuce was the packaging looked very expensive. I'll look into the name brand and see if I can get any more info on it.
Is the living lettuce hydroponic? I am building a hydro machine right now with the intent of trying to sell miniature varieties of lettuce as live plants after they are fully grown. Doing so would solve the problem of how much to cut before market and how to keep it from wilting. I was thinking of a battery-powered air pump to aerate the roots while at market. Whatever did not sell could be taken home and stuck back into the hydro setup to keep growing.
there's a guy who sells hydroponic butter crunch in round clamshell containers with the roots still intact at our market. i don't remember the price he charges but it is steep. he's even brought the tank and the floating raft with the lettuces to the market.
I bought into it too, I ordered/got both,the foundation + premier collections. Last year I tried the Live thing, I just pulled the whole plant root and all, but doing it this way took way to long to wash the soil off the roots so I did as Jay said; take the whole head-dip/shake(gently) in big tub of cold water-repeat into another tub of water-shake off gently-then I set the head on the air drying table (root end facing up to the sky). My drying table is made from an old step ladder, 8ft long piece with vinyl covered hardware cloth wired on the top (set on the shady side of our garage). Whole heads sell better at the market here, I do some salad mix in $2.00/bags for the coupon users, sometimes even $1/bags sell real well at the other market I go to. I truly think this "Salanova" lettuce will sell real good either way for me here. I grow ten other types of head lettuce as well-not all at the same time of course.
I am doing Salanova this year as well. 1000 of the premier and 1000 of the foundation as a trial. My chef customers were interested. I don't do salad mix as it qualifies as processing and I don't want the legal crap that comes along with processing.
I like the concept and if it sells well I will buy more. It is NOT cheap, but I think it will work well. We will have to post our results here at the end of the season.
i just harvested 10 heads of salanova. this is just the premier. i got 1.5 lbs out of it or $15 when i sell it. i mixed it with other salad mix lettuce and some baby chard. i like being able to cut the core out and get a nice pile of leaves.
If you really wanna save loads of labor and grow the greatest product do like me.
I plant in rain gutters stacked vertically in some simple "A" frames. I seed thickly in promix and use hen manure as fertilizer. I was too stupid (and too exhausted from designing thinking building everything -ing all these systems) to put in automatic irrigation. Im not good at regular watering and it was a hot summer. Despite that:
- The salad grew so dense that i harvested to close to 2 pounds (yes 2 pounds!) of lettuce per row foot every 40 days in my best spots. I averaged 1,3 pounds per row foot.
- I can grow summer long (zone 5) because the vertical stacking gives all plants some sort of shade during part of the day at least.
-I do not bend down anymore to harvest or to do any work on the plants. Killing my back and knees is a major turn off for me when it comes to farming so thats a major plus.
- NO WEEDING -EVER!!! Weeds do not have the space to grow or the means to propagate into the elevated gutters. Yes, the odd weed seed will make it in one of my gutters, but I must spend about 4 minutes weeding in an entire season...and Ive got 120 of these 10 foot gutters!
-Insect and animal damage reduced by 95%! This used to drive me NUTS! I dont think I needto explain why. I was too lazy to put up protective netting, and the plants were fine anyway. Its much tougher for bugs and animals to get crops that are off the ground. Ive observed this year after year using various vertical systems. This is great!
-The lettuce has no dirt or grit on it. Its clean, nice, crisp, ready to sell off the plant. Saves LOADS of labor and money!
-its a joke to harvest. Very efficient because youre standing up, the canopy is so thick that one snip with the scissors yields almost a half pound of lettuce. The fact that there are multiple tiers of plants make you have to move around less, which saves even more time and effort. No weeds to sort out or anything like that. How long do you think it takes me to harvest 5 pounds of leaf lettuce mix? How about 7,8 seconds? Dont laugh, Ive timed it! Lol
- growing this way makes organic farming easy. All of the need for pesticides and herbicides is replaced by techniques that negate the need for them. I don't spray ANYTHING, organic or chemical, on my plants. Less spending on products, less driving around, less labor, higher quality and market value. Keep it simple, use a well draining medium, sprinkle some pelletized hen manure, run a soaker hose through the length of the gutters and go watch TV.
( I got one ton of fertilizer for 650$ delivered to my front door. Its certified organic, sterilized and great for all around farming of food crops. High in nitrogen, great for leafy greens). I ended up using 3x 25kg bags for the entire plot and it was overkill. So i still got 925kg under my back porch lol.
-Oh, I also grew a 30 foot Sweet 100 cherry tomato plant (or was it a tree lol) that pumped out over 1000 cherry tomatoes and yielded over 48 pounds of toms ( I weighed that too lol). It also only occupied 2 square feet of ground space, but grew very very tall :).
Going vertical has allowed me to build a good revenue farm out of a residential backyard of about 2300 sq ft. Thats just how bad I wanted it lol
Ive got even better systems for the upcoming season, but trust me if you try this youll never look back.
I want to see pics of the set up.
Here a pic of one of the gutters, it was taken by season end and not planted very thick so not as dense or full as during peak, but that should give you an idea. The variety that yielded best was green salad bowl, but im not sure if its because of the variety as its the type i planted the thickest so its kinda hard to tell for sure.
Its also important to remember those plants didnt get regular watering which is akin to murder in lettuce plants. Im just a lousy crop waterer, but I cant wait to see the results as soon as i put in a drip system this coming spring.
This post was about lettuce, but I grow ALL high value, shallow rooted crops in elevated vertical systems for all the reasons stated above. Bush beans, when planted densely, make for quite a show. Strawberries too. Let me know if you have any questions. I have some significant improvements to this system which will be added for next season, id be happy to share those as well.
Oooooooooooooh! That's awesome.
Can you show some more pics so I can see how you built the A-frames?
Love your name! Gardens should be fun, productive, easy and produce great quality with minimal work :)
really easy, simple built A frame. If youre gonna copy this system, reduce the space between tiers and youll double the yield of mine. Im 6" tall and arms extended i reach the top gutter. Either reduce height to remove the need for a small ladder or increase density and then its worth bothering with a ladder. Make sure you install auto irrigation. use sterilized and pre aged chicken compost pellets to fertilize. I used promix and only top dressed from the start. You can improve on this.
Make sure to drill drainage holes in the bottom of the gutters. The gutters are attached to the frame with simple zip ties. Zip ties are the lazy gardeners best friend :)
This is Edamame ive grown on the fences. great results :)
One 10 foot section grows 150-200 scallions, Ive been eating those since june and still have some left, and I only grew 2 gutters :)
hmm I wonder if my husband would let me put a bunch on the neighboring fences?
lil minnie: convincing him should be easy, extra privacy and less uglyness, I personnaly dont like chain link fence and they are totally useless when naked. You can plant anything in those gutters. I plant food because I like to create value out of things that didnt before. Im gonna try a complete gutter of pansies and edible flowers next year just for show. Strawberries are quite a show in this system. Ill see if those planted this year make it to spring. If they do, theyll put out loads of berrie, I'll post some pics.
Tell your husband he wont have to buy greens, beans, herbs, strawberries and whatever else you decide to plant for half of the year. The quality is impossible to compare with store bought. The nutrition also. If you want higher fences, I can even show you how to use the fence heights for gutter planting and how to espalier grape vines between 2x 10 foot tall metal poles so they produce their crop between the top of the fence and end height of the poles.
There are so many options possible, and all neighbors tell me its beautiful.. I bribe any complaining neighbors with goodies such as arugula, strawberries and fresh scallions.
It looks like you don't use end caps on your gutters; how much potting medium are you loosing?
I know that would be spending more $, but the soil loss may be costlier in the long run. Just wondering...Rina
Rina: i didnt buy end caps because the pack of 2 is as expensive as the gutters which defeats the purpose of using the gutters in the first place. I grow commercially, costs matter. I did lose a bit of soil and could get a bit more useable lenght if i capped the gutters which i will do this coming season. Ill simply use pantyhose on the ends secured with duct tape or something equally cheap.
I designed and built all these systems in a very short period, along with launching my farm, doing everything else a startup does, etc etc... Now that the base is there and tested im going for improvements this season. Capped gutters, drip irrigation, increase density on the A frames. Im also gonna test a new structure type to hold those gutters. Im hoping to achieve better space efficiency and higher density.
Ive just opened a shop in a high traffic area. We are going to be selling salads, crepes, take out meals, coffee, pastries, etc as much as possible using products from the farm. Kinda like farm to table but with a food shop instead. Local, organic, affordable products. Even at discounted prices, I'll still get 25$ or more for every pound of lettuce, 15$ for a pound of strawberries, etc
Ill post updates if anyone is interested in this.
i want to get $25/lb for lettuce.
I was sure it is cost of caps. pantyhose or similar is a good idea...I would look for any discarded eaves/caps people throw out, maybe even ask installers for old stuff. You could probably find some used in restore (btw, where do you live - Canada or US?)
Is your shop/store located on your property?
(Crepes, I make them very often - my kids & grandkids love them).
Are you using plastic or aluminum gutters? 4" or 5" or maybe deeper?
Installer that remove old gutters are usually removing aluminum or steel gutters and with the prices of scrap metal, don't expect to find them for free. My son scraps, and every piece of metal is important to him.
I'd love to combine the gutter systems inside of my hoop house. Need to do some thinking before planting season.
BTW, we always plant Green and Red Salad Bowl lettuce, cheaper seeds and customers love their tastes.
@randy: the food business you sell to gets 25$ a pound for lettuce, you gotta take their place!
@rina: Yes, cheap alternatives are as good, thats what im going for! Free or repurposed is best, I needed about 115 gutters and im not setup with people who discard gutters so looking for recycled wouldve taken forever. I do agree there is an angle to be worked here, you just gotta do the initial networking. I think it could be worth it though
My shop isnt on my property. I was selling from the property at first, but youll quickly realize people are not ready to go out of their way much, and the only way to sell volume is to go for restaurants and such, and their haggling exhausts me. I was gonna try the farmer market but getting a spot is too complicated and too costly. Youre basically left holding all risks. Works out for some, not for me. Too much trouble setting up and packing everyday, etc. Here they want 65$ a day with power included. Rip off.
I managed to get a location right next to a subway station in the heart of the city. I figured if im gonna work and someone else gets the good part, might as well do the retailing part. Rent and all fees cost me 2000$ a month, same daily price as the farmers market. Of course theres more work involved but i think its worth it. I have a partner on the farm who has one third and a partner in the shop that also owns a third. This way i have people with skin in the game helping but im still captain on the ship.
My food costs will be very low, ill have top quality unique products, full control and flexibility on production, a unique marketing tool. If anyone wants to copy me, theyll have to learn farming, then vertical farming, then setup the way im setting up....
@myfamilysfarm: I use pvc gutters because theire cheaper, easier to cut to size if ever i need. metal is more durable, true, but for starting cheap, pvc is king.
Some people will tell you they leach in the soil and its toxic. I dont buy it. We eat food out of plastic containers all day long. If youre really concern, put some kinda burlap or textile at the bottom of the gutter. They have too many benefits to be dismissed over something so easily worked around. Salad bowl is a universal winner.
oh, im in the montreal area, canada :)
Thank you for answering the questions. I do get lots of 'stuff' for excellent price at reStore, there is one in Montreal - worth contacting them.
Why did you decide to grow vertically? Is it because of space restrictions or other reasons?
One more question - do you have greenhouse and/or tunnel to grow in colder weather? How will you supply veggies for your business during winter?
Good luck with your business.
Thanks for pointing out about scrap - you are right, I just didn't think about it.
This thread is originally about salanova...I apologize for asking questions on different subject.
This post was edited by rina_ on Tue, Dec 17, 13 at 0:01
We are still on topic, talking lettuce and all lol :)
Thanks for pointing out ReStore in montreal, i badly need a place like that to source materials and had no clue of their existence:)
I initially decided to grow vertically because i found it an ingenious, cheap and intriguing way to grow more food on less space. I always wanted to grow my own food and i live in the city on a 5000 or so sq ft lot, which leaves me with 3000sq ft of grow space scattered in small irregular parcels. So i started looking for a cheap diy system to grow vertically.
So the shoe organizers were my first idea. As the season progressed, i realized more important things: weeds dont grow in off the ground growing systems. Pests didnt seem very efficient at attacking my plants either, i had 95% pest attack reduction. The product coming out of these systems beats whatever you can grow in the ground, with a quarter of the work....every time. Harvesting time, because of density, vertical stacking, the fact that theres no need to kneel or bend over much...etc
This is valid for the 30 or so varieties of vegetables ive done vertically. I dont like paying for chemicals and even less spraying them on food, makes no sense to me. I dont swim against the current, i cant beat mother nature and i know it. I needed it to be as simple as possible while being as productive and efficient as possible, all the while growing premium food only. Im beyond organic, i spray NOTHING on my plants, water and composted chicken manure, thats it. I dont like the control that the companies producing the chemicals, seeds, etc have over farmers. They are liars, fraudsters who just want your money and leave you holding the bag.
2nd season (this year) I installed the gutter system and the A frames and I started selling. The clients would tell me "wow this salad is nice, clean, no grit, no brown spots". That made me realize the level of quality of the product compared to whats out there. That took me to the next problem which is distribution, thats what brings me to the store part :)
I dont have a greenhouse or cold frame yet and thats gonna be my next problem lol. I have a 1200 sq ft basement thats empty and where i could grow lettuce and other crops under fluorescents/t5/metal halide/hps, but thats not my ideal plan.
Oh, i dont wash my produce before selling it, because its perfectly clean and needs no washing. Saves me loads of time, i didnt have to get washing facilities, and the produce keeps longer and looks better.
Thanks again for taking time to answer.
I suspected that produce would be much cleaner, less pests and definitely much easier to harvest.
Read about vertical gardening many times, and I see it as very good solution for small/smaller gardens.
(I read your previous post on another forum with photos of your shoe organizers!)
Indeed, it is very, very efficent on all levels. I even believe that the added density and combined efficiencies would make this interesting to operate on a larger scale, and I have every intention of trying it down the road.
Ill keep you guys posted as the business progresses, but im already getting lots of interest from people and everything seems on track the way I want it to be!
My boss uses it, He grows salad mix in his hydroponic systems, he thinks it's more efficent, because He says it produces the same amount of lettuce, with about half number of heads, it's less time to cut, to plant, and to set out in the systems from seedlings. It can also be used as a head lettuce if your demand for salad mix drops, or your production is more abundant than what you need. And it is a conversation starter too at market, I've spent a lot time at market just talking to people about it, and most times they buy it!
Mixed salad in a bag sells really well for me so I might try the Salanova next season. The only limitation is transporting this high volume, low density crop. I've been brainstorming a way to hang bags inside a plastic crate so that I can get several rows inside without having them crush the one below.
Gutter gardening is intriguing. If the lettuce is off the ground that space could be used for bigger plants like squashes. Hmm.
I did grow salanova last year and it was a huge hit. A little pricey though. Check around- some like JSS are more expensive than others