How To Grow Watercress

On and off I’ve talked about watercress quite a lot over the past couple of years and there is always some surprise in the comments section of the blog that it can be cultivated on an allotment or in a garden.  I’m guessing that this is because what we see in supermarkets is sourced from specialised farms where it’s grown in streams or watercress beds and also because I don’t think I’ve ever seen the seeds for sale in any of the ‘normal’ outlets.

Watercress

We came across them by chance at a Franchi Seeds open day. If you ever get the opportunity to go to one do, their range of seeds is extensive and one of the more interesting.

Sowing Watercress

I grow it in bags, these from Wilkinson are a bit deeper than needed so I’ve folded the top over.  Then it goes like this:

Fill the bag to a depth of 20cm with multi purpose compost.

Water the compost well and sow the seeds thickly.

Add another centimetre of compost.

Place the bag in light shade and keep  damp.

Sown earlier in the year than normal I’ve covered the bag with some clear plastic sheet leaving a gap at the side for the air to circulate.

It’s that simple. There’s no need to thin out and bar the odd slug that tries to get into the bags it’s untroubled by any pests. The seedlings in the first photograph were sown just under three weeks ago and if the weather continues to be as good as it is now I’d expect to start picking it in a months time, although if you like micro greens you could cut sooner.

The details for Franchi are here.

 

 

    Pin It

29 Responses to “How To Grow Watercress”

  1. Julie April 24, 2014 @ 4:45 pm (#)

    You have reminded me to crack on and sow my watercress seeds, I have some from franchis, it’s a first for me. Do you grow in bags to retain the moisture and no holes?

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 24th, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

      The bags do have holes in Julie but because they’re in a bit of shade they don’t dry out. The rest of our plot is in full sun and well drained so i think it would be harder work to keep damp.

  2. Julie April 24, 2014 @ 4:45 pm (#)

    You have reminded me to crack on and sow my watercress seeds, I have some from franchis, it’s a first for me. Do you grow in bags to retain the moisture and no holes?

  3. crthompson2013 April 24, 2014 @ 5:33 pm (#)

    Where did you attend a Franchi seed open day? I can’t see any details on their website.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 24th, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

      No, I can’t see it either. It’s probably worth calling them because they also do a lot of the shows. They’re just a couple of miles away from us so I just pop in now. if there’s anything you particularly want let me know and I can pick it up for you.

      • crthompson2013 replied: — April 26th, 2014 @ 8:38 am

        That’s really kind of you – thank you – I’ll bear that in mind.

  4. annjenny April 24, 2014 @ 6:07 pm (#)

    I love watercress and you have made it look so easy. I am definitely going to keep this in mind as a new crop to grow.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 24th, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

      It’s well worth the effort Ann, we’ve always eaten a lot of it so it’s a good value crop for us.

  5. annjenny April 24, 2014 @ 6:07 pm (#)

    I love watercress and you have made it look so easy. I am definitely going to keep this in mind as a new crop to grow.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 24th, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

      It’s well worth the effort Ann, we’ve always eaten a lot of it so it’s a good value crop for us.

  6. AllotmentinmyGarden April 24, 2014 @ 8:10 pm (#)

    I’d never thought of growing watercress, we eat quite a lot of it too so I ought to give it a go.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 24th, 2014 @ 8:12 pm

      I hope you do and it seems so popular, surprising that garden centres et al don’t stock the seeds.

  7. Sue@GLAllotments April 25, 2014 @ 7:36 am (#)

    Maybe my mistake was to try growing cutting rooted from watercress bought from the green grocer. Do you need to keep it very wet?

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 25th, 2014 @ 7:49 am

      No Sue, just damp and don’t let it dry out. But as it’s sown quite thickly and not kept in full sun it seems to hold the moisture quite well. Also we’ve used moisture holding compost this year for the first time so will be interesting to see if that makes any difference.

  8. Sue@GLAllotments April 25, 2014 @ 7:36 am (#)

    Maybe my mistake was to try growing cutting rooted from watercress bought from the green grocer. Do you need to keep it very wet?

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 25th, 2014 @ 7:49 am

      No Sue, just damp and don’t let it dry out. But as it’s sown quite thickly and not kept in full sun it seems to hold the moisture quite well. Also we’ve used moisture holding compost this year for the first time so will be interesting to see if that makes any difference.

  9. Joanne April 25, 2014 @ 7:41 am (#)

    I shall take a look at the site. I’ve grown watercress from seed before in a tub. I believe the variety was called ‘Aqua’ funnily enough! I haven’t seen it at the garden centre lately & I rather like it on my sandwiches during the summer.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 25th, 2014 @ 7:52 am

      It’s nice just to be able to pick a bit at a time, although I use it a lot. It doesn’t seem to bolt so easily as other leaf salad crops can.

  10. Rose Hewer April 25, 2014 @ 11:22 am (#)

    This is interesting, I always thought it could only be grown in water

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 27th, 2014 @ 8:29 am

      I think it’s a well kept secret Rose, not sure why because I find it easier to grow than spinach which we also eat a lot of.

  11. Mammasaurus April 27, 2014 @ 8:11 am (#)

    This is so handy – I’m just about to start growing my own in the next couple of weeks and cress is on my ‘wish-list’ – so glad we sat next to each other yesterday!

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 27th, 2014 @ 8:28 am

      Thank you! If you’d like me to send you some seeds let me know. Me too, thank you for being so welcoming. It’s an excellent event, came away with plenty to think about.

  12. home, garden, life April 27, 2014 @ 6:08 pm (#)

    So glad to see this! Now to find the seeds in the US. You are not afraid of the plastic leaching into cress?

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 28th, 2014 @ 9:05 am

      I have admit to being a bit rusty on all of this, but as far as I can see there is no firm conclusion and given we use plastic pots etc. So no. Of course it could be just as easily grown in terracotta pots.

Leave a Comment