How to Grow the Best Watercress

How to Grow the Best Watercress

Although grown in shallow water, watercress will often crop well in trenches or troughs which can be kept moist. A shady spot should be used if possible.

SOIL PREPARATION

Fork plenty of fine organic matter into the bottom of a trench a spade deep and a spade’s width across; sedge peat is ideal for the purpose, used at the rate of two large bucketfuls to the yard run.

SOWING

If plants are to be raised from seed, sow the seed thinly in John Innes seed compost in boxes in early April, and cover with a little silver sand. Put the boxes on the staging of the greenhouse with a temperature of 55° F. (13° C). Water through the fine rose of a can.

When the seed germinates, prick the seedlings out, 3 in. apart, into other boxes containing John Innes potting compost No. l. A fortnight later, put the boxes out in a cold frame to harden off the plants. It is important at this stage to keep them in the sunlight.

PLANTING

The Watercress beds in Warnford, Hampshire

Image via Wikipedia

Soak the bottom of the trench and plant out the seedlings 6 in. apart, zigzag fashion. Water well at least once a week from then on.

GENERAL CARE

A month later start feeding the plants every week with’ diluted liquid manure. If any plants start to flower, cut off the tops to prevent flowering shoots developing.

Keep slugs at bay with Slugit pellets.

HARVESTING

Cut the watercress when needed during the summer. The more the tops are cut the more growth will be made. The bed will need to be completely cleaned at the end of the season.

There are no true varieties of watercress, but there are bronze and green types. The bronze type is generally preferred and has larger leaves, but the green type is easier to grow.

13. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Fruit & Veg, Salads | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on How to Grow the Best Watercress

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