Watercress and other things that like wet feet
Updated: Oct 11, 2020
So how has it been going? Well, scroll to the bottom to see. I will update this periodically so you can follow it with me.
I have been buying watercress quite a bit lately, it is very delicious and nutritious and Mr T and I have been enjoying it (once he realised it was not some smooth leaved form of coriander I was trying to sneak into him). It is quite an amazing leafy green from a nutrition point of view, a member of the cruciferous family, so same family as kale and Brussel sprouts and broccoli, and because I am trying to extend the range of fruits and vegetables I eat so that I am ticking all of those nutrient boxes, this is a good one for me.
Watercress has a mild, slightly mustardy flavour and is rich in calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium as well as Vitamins K, C, E, A and several of the B Vitamins, so whether we eat it raw or cooked, we are still going to get some really good benefits from it.
So anyway, I have been buying a bunch of this every week and it is not cheap, so as Spring rolls in through the Adelaide Hills, my thoughts are turning to my veggie patch, which is one of my most happy places.....except this year it has been so dry that I will probably not be able to grow vegies in my patch at all. I do have one bed planted with rhubarb (high in calcium, who knew?), french shallots and lemon balm, but I doubt that I will have the water from my tanks to spare this summer for any more. So I was thinking about watercress and how it likes lots of water and will grow quite happily in a pond and I had an idea, what if I was to plant it in an unglazed terracotta pot and put that pot in a reservoir of water? That would keep the potting mix damp at all times, and maybe....maybe...maybe, I can grow my own watercress instead of buying it at the shop.
I must admit, I did grow a blueberry bush like this quite successfully, until I forgot to water it and it turned up its toes, but this is different! This is something that will be continually harvested, so I am unlikely to forget to water it.
So as you can see, I have three wide but not too deep terracotta pots and I have put them into three plastic bowls that are only just slightly bigger than they are, this will prevent too much water evaporation when it gets hot here, and boy! Does it get hot here! And it will also stop any creepy crawlers crawling up the pots and eating my baby plants (I have had a slater bug infestation recently).
In the middle pot I have put in two watercress seedlings because I could not find seed. At the back I have put in a cress called Land Cress, that looks exactly like watercress and also needs wet feet. At the front I have put in something called Water Spinach, which I have never heard of, nor, by the look of the photo, ever seen, but which looks like it can be used in much the same way as silverbeet or swiss chard, so I think is worth a try.
I will bring you back so you can see how it is going, wish me luck!
Would you like to see a picture of my veggie patch from last year? It was absolutely mad! It has been extended with two new beds this year and spread out a bit so it doesn’t do that same impression of the jungle in that old Bogart movie, the African Queen, but as I said, at the rate the tanks are going this year, there will be no jungle anyway.
One week on, there is no sign of green from the two pots with the seeds, though the pot with the land cress has some interesting divot holes in it, so it may have been raided. BUT! Check out my watercress!!!
It is absolutely thriving! And some of the fronds have little roots growing out of them, so it is obviously intent on world domination! Go your hardest watercress, I bet I eat you before you are big enough to eat me!
Two weeks from the start of our experiment and there are exciting developments.
Do you see? No, not the watercress in the middle, though as you can see that is both thriving, and being harvested, so that is wonderful. Hang on, I will go closer.
Green bits! That is the land cress and I am pretty chuffed with that! The pot at the front with the water spinach in it hasn’t done anything yet, it does have one tiny hint of green on the horizon but nothing substantial, we shall keep an eye on it, but in the meantime, green bits! That has made my day.