Where is Watercress Grown in the UK?

Being a common herb in Europe, the watercress is an everyday affair in Russia and the United Kingdom.   It has even been considered as street food in London where bunches of it are bought by labourers to serve as their breakfast.

That’s how the spread of watercress began in urban markets.  Coupled with the development of railway transportation, this semi-aquatic plant made its way to Wiltshire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and Dorset where they are now notably grown commercially in the United Kingdom.

But it wasn’t always in these places where they were commercially cultivated.  Watercress capital of Britain has been near Winchester, particularly in Alresford, where a steam railway line has been named after this plant.

The first place where watercress was commercialized was along the River Ebbsfleet in Kent in the 1800s.  It has been grown by notable horticulturist William Bradbery.

Today, watercress is more widely available, especially in the Southeast area.  They can easily be found sold in supermarkets, fresh or pre-packed.

If you are lucky enough to have your own spring, growing watercress would be easy to cultivate.  Water is what’s basically needed to grow this plant anyway.  Water contamination and poisoning can easily affect how this aquatic plant grows.

But since not all people are this lucky, people turn to land cress as substitute.  Land cress can be grown in gardens and even in pots.

Some try to cultivate watercress in shallow gravel beds which are constantly supplied by water from nearby springs and then later on, after germination has been completed, be transferred into gravel greenhouses and gravel beds.

Tags: ,