Gardening

How to plant watercress

Nasturtium officinale , also called Sisymbrium nasturtium-aquaticum and Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum

The watercress is a semi-aquatic plant that can reach up to 1.2 m in height in its natural environment. Easy to grow, watercress is a vegetable very appreciated for its spicy flavor.

Climate

The watercress or watercress is a plant that prefers a mild climate (temperature between 10 ° C and 20 ° C). In regions with a temperature above 25 ° C the plant becomes smaller and can flower early.

Brightness

The watercress needs good light, with at least a few hours of direct sunlight daily. In hot climates avoid the plant being exposed to the sun during the hottest hours of the day.

Where to grow

The watercress, as its name implies, is a semi-aquatic plant, and can be planted in flooded ditches, waterlogged terrains, tanks, vases and other containers. The ideal height of the water layer on the ground is about 2 to 5 cm, but it can be grown with larger water depths. Very moist clayey soil can also be used for cultivation. The soil must be fertile and the plant grows best when the pH is neutral or slightly alkaline.

Planting in pots is very easy, placing the pot with soil in a larger container containing fresh water. Due to its characteristics, watercress is also a perfect vegetable for hydroponic cultivation.

Great care must be taken so that the water is not contaminated with sewage. Do not fertilize with manure. The risk of watercress becoming a vector for parasites and diseases is very high if the soil or water is contaminated.

Planting

The seeds can be sown in sowing and the transplant can be done when the plants have 4 to 6 leaves. The seeds can also be sown directly in the final place, in moist soil, but without a layer of water on the soil. The germination rate of the seeds is generally relatively low.

Another method is to plant branches of at least 15 cm in length, taken from adult plants or bundles of watercress sold in the market, which take root easily when partially immersed in a container with water. The ends and leaves can be harvested before planting the branches.

The spacing between the plants can be 20 to 30 cm.

Cultivation

When planted in flooded tanks and ditches, there must be a slight steady flow of water to avoid health problems such as mosquitoes proliferating. When planted in pots and containers, the water must be changed frequently. If planting is done in beds, irrigation should be at least daily, so that the soil is never too damp.

Harvest

Harvesting can be done 60 to 80 days after sowing and 40 to 50 days in case the planting is done with the branches. Well-developed leaves can be harvested individually for immediate use or the branches can be cut, leaving 5 to 10 cm of the branch in the plant so that it can sprout. Several harvests can be made at intervals of at least one month between each harvest.

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