Why are some plants red?

Why are some plants red?

A few years ago I would have been spending these snowy days in a couple of (minimally) heated greenhouses, surrounded by thousands of small growing plants. At the time, I was doing research on salad green production to see if it is feasible to do throughout a New England winter. The thing is, not all salad greens are actually green. 

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Nitrate accumulation in winter grown crops

Nitrate accumulation in winter grown crops

Nitrogen is a crucial nutrient for plant growth.  Just like in animals, nitrogen is needed to create proteins and replicate DNA.  Nitrate is the essential source of nitrogen for plants.  It is absorbed from the soil by the plant’s roots. 

What happens if a crop absorbs too much nitrate? Is that bad for the plant or for the consumer?  Read on to find out.

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On the origins of lettuce

On the origins of lettuce

If you think of salad you probably think of lettuce.  Maybe crunchy iceberg or crisp romaine in a caesar salad.  These two cultivars might be the most common in the US, but they aren’t the only kind of lettuce out there.  There are plenty more – colorful leaf lettuces, lettuce grown for it’s oily seeds or thick stalks.

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Winter is coming: salad green edition

Winter is coming: salad green edition

A few weeks ago Alena wrote about trees and how they prepare for cold, winter weather.  Salad greens and other winter crops prepare for cold weather too, but they don’t use the same mechanisms.  Salad greens are a year-round crop for many farmers.  Growing crops in greenhouses, high tunnels and using plasticulture are cultural practices used by farmers to do this, but plants prepare and adapt internally to colder temperatures as well. 

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