<< This is a photo I took of some watercress that I successfully grew in a tyre for the first time. Yes it really is that easy!

When people think of growing Watercress they usually assume they need an expensive hydroponic system or some similar set up that includes constantly running water. I admit, I was the same until I started researching a bit more and found out that you actually can grow watercress in soil.

You can use any sort of large container as long as it is well draining. If the water is allowed to sit at the bottom of the container, it will go stagnant. As you can see, I used a tyre with the inner rim cut out for my first attempt.

The first thing you need to do is source some fresh watercress. I bought mine from the local butcher. If you can find some growing in a nearby stream, even better. Don't be alarmed if it looks like the watercress doesn't have any roots. My watercress stalks had only a few little short white roots near the end of the stalks and they still grew back.
If you can start growing from seed, even better but it would be best to sow direct where you want them to grow so as to save you the trouble of transplanting later.

Next, fill your container with straight compost or soil rich in organic nutrients. I used a bag of compost bought from the local garden centre. Poke holes evenly around the soil to a depth of about 5cm and place a stalk in each hole. Gently mound the dirt up around the stalk. The important thing to remember here is to make sure the soil is always kept damp. Don't let the soil dry out completely as the watercress like to keep their feet wet. But, don't let the water sit in the bottom, be sure to water constantly so that the watercress always has a fresh supply.

Don't be alarmed if it looks like your watercress is dying after the first few days, it is just the shock of transplanting that makes all of the old leaves die off but new leaves will grow back in again so just pick off the old dead leaves as they die to encourage new ones to grow. You may still lose one or two so make sure to plant out as much as possible.

 Watercress like partial shade in the hottest part of the day with lots of sun so if you have them in a spot that is too hot (or too cold in winter) make a teepee over the container using bamboo stakes and fasten a frost cloth around it. This will protect the watercress from the elements until it is established. Constantly pick flower heads off to encourage new growth. The fresh leaves and flower heads can all be used in cooking and salads. Once the flower goes to seed then the plant will start to die off so you want to encourage it to grow for as long as possible.

Constant watering can eventually leach nutrients from the soil so be sure to feed with an Organic Liquid Fertilizer such as Liquid Seaweed every week or two as the season progresses.
The first link below has the instructions which I followed the first time I grew watercress at home as it has step by step pictures to help you along



    Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.


    May 2013