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Water cress in Cromore

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We have a very large, lush patch of watercress running down a gentle slope in the garden which is watered by a sporadic stream ( or rather , burn ) coming from a small field on our croft here in the Isle of Lewis.

It is also continuously watered from the outflow from our septic tank! We're careful about avoiding disposing of chemicals other than soaps and detergents, although there may be residual chemicals from the drench given to our sheep to prevent fluke damage ( we know to check the cress very thoroughly for eggs )

Is our water cress safe to eat ? I have eaten some before with no ill effects. Perhaps I should try to divert the septic tank outflow from the cress patch .

Bill Holden

Thanks David ,

We will have to eventually replace the old concrete septic tank which dates back to the old cement and chicken wire croft house; and therein lies the opportunity to by divert the outlet .

Meanwhile I'll risk a few tips of the cress plant and wash them thoroughly .

I hit 65 next April and have decided to finally and fully retire and give the croft the attention it deserves.

I also try to grow organically - spent part of this morning filling bags with sheep muck from our hill reseeding ( reclaimed moorland with lots of shell sand from Harris ) to put into the lazy beds where I'm still planting out the tatties. Good fertiliser which can be put on relatively fresh and doesn't 'burn' the plants.

Our new neighbour in the estate next door has said that he will be putting Highland cattle on the land , so I'm hopeful of a good supply of cow muck some time.

We also use a lot of the seaweed which washes up into Loch Cromore at high tides ( I prefer to get this gathered early in September to get it washed out before digging in). Good for potatoes ( some leave it for a second year) , rhubarb and globe artichokes thrive on it

I am trying to find time to finish the rabbit Maginot Line
around another plot next to the sheltered bay below the house using great quantities of netting from a local fish farm. I take frequent trips to the scrapyard in Arnol to get old iron/steel pipes/rods which come in very useful in putting up temporary fences.In fact I make frequent trips to the community skips for all sorts of useful garden stuff.

Well , again thanks David . Must go and spray the garden and the tubs . If you're ever in the South Lochs region of Lewis please drop in for chat.We're seldom away from home.

Bill Holden

Biggest disappointment has been the failure of about £100 worth of raspberry canes , but I try again next year.



Yes, Bill, you should divert your septic tank outfall below the water cress bed. The septic tank treatment system will not remove pathogens from the effluent and could cause stomach upsets. I would still have concerns about liver fluke but, !!! as long as you are happy thenenjoy the water cress.

25 May, 2012

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