How to Grow Your Own Watercress

Watercress is a pleasure to have in your garden especially if you have a stream or a pond to grow it.  But if you don’t, you can still cultivate this peppery herb in pots, deep containers and even an old bathtub set in trays of water or wet garden soils.

It’s also better to grow your own watercress instead of getting it from unknown sources.  This aquatic plant easily gets contaminated by polluted water.  If you grow your own, you can be sure of the quality of the watercress you are harvesting.

Watercress can easily be grown from seeds.  But growing it from stem pieces is also easy.  They root easier, too, if they are sown in very wet soils.

Ideally, a 15 centimeter layer of well-rotted compost must be at the bottom of the bed, plus another ten centimeters of rich soil on top of it.  The topmost layer of the bed must be a layer of fine pea gravel that’s five centimeters thick.

To grow watercress, sow the seeds about ¼ inch deep directly in wet garden soil.  This must be done about three weeks before the average date of last frost.  If you think the seeds will be washed from the soil bed by high water, mulch lightly.

You can also grow seeds placed in damp paper towels set in bowls.  Under good conditions – consistent moisture and a temperature of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit – the seedlings should germinate in ten days or so.

If you are starting watercress from cuttings, it should be about ten centimeters long.  The lower portion of the cutting must be stripped of foliage and then planted about seven centimeters apart.

They must be guarded from the sun – not until their roots become well-established.  Once they begin to grow, you can add water to the container letting only the tip of the plant show above the water.  Make sure to change the water at least once a week as watercress do not grow in stagnant water.