Winter Growth of Duckweed
My outdoor duckweed ponds had a light glaze of ice over them this morning. Even though I was prepared to watch my floating duckweed succumb to winter’s grip, I had the urge to run out there, melt the ice and truck all that duckweed into the house. Don’t know what I’d do with it as I have plenty indoors, but the urge to save it all was a strong one.
Imprisoned in the ice, the duckweed will stay green for quite a while and fool you into thinking it’s still healthy. In years past, I’d break loose a chunk of ice and revive the duckweed indoors, only to watch it die. What survives are the starchy turions that formed during the fall and sink to the mud below. Come spring, they to begin growing again and rising up to form full-fledged fronds.
My indoor containers are sitting in a five foot broad expanse of windows in my “sunroom” and growing madly. (It’s actually my tool room, wood working/storage area with a saw dust path kicked through it.) I actually have to harvest every few days or the duckweed gets too crowded. My excess is being used as green mulch around my avocado seedlings who are equally happy in the cool room.
I had these duckweed batches under fluorescent lights for about three weeks. They were growing well but I was forced to move them to my sunroom because I had to go on a trip for five days and couldn’t turn the lights on and off. I only hoped they’d get enough light out there. To my surprise, the duckweed is doing better in an unheated room with weak sunlight than in a 72 degree room with lots of artificial light.
Living and learning…