Comparison of Two Harvest Methods for Lettuce Production in an Aquaponic System

Gaylynn E. Johnson, Karen M. Buzby, Kenneth J. Semmens, Nicole L. Waterland

Abstract


Aquaponics is an integrated food production technology of aquaculture and hydroponics. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) is an economically important vegetable crop that can be grown aquaponically. In addition to selecting the right choice of lettuce cultivars, developing an optimal harvest strategy could increase lettuce production. Lettuce production using two harvest methods, Cut-and-Come-Again (CC) and Once-and-Done (OD), was evaluated using ‘Red Sails’ lettuce in a flow-through aquaponic system rearing trout. With the CC method continual harvesting was possible on a weekly basis after the initial harvest, while it took five weeks for each harvest using the OD method. The total yield of lettuce by the CC method was 6.7 kg from 9 trays, while 22.6 kg of lettuce was harvested by the OD method using 54 trays. In harvests by the OD method, 6 times as many seeds were sown compared to the CC method. The average yield per tray harvested by the CC method (744.4 g/tray) was 78% higher than that by the OD method (418.5 g/tray) because the CC method used 6 times less trays. Productivity, calculated by the average yield per growing week, of the two harvest methods at the first harvest was similar, but 4.8 times higher in the CC method than in the OD method at the second harvest due to the shorter harvest time. However, visual and decay ratings of lettuce harvested by the CC method began to decline afterwards. Together, the OD method after two consecutive harvests by the CC method would help growers to obtain increased yield of quality lettuce.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jas.v9n1p64

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