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Nothing Ventured ...


By PeteG


… Nothing Gained, they say – so I’ll have a go at a blog and see what happens. I suspect entries will be occasional and, while they’ll start with gardening, I can easily imagine them detouring into all sorts of subjects and hitherto unexplored areas of my psyche (probably quite a lot of those, LOL!)

So, class, today’s subject is … Watercress! Kindly contain your excitement.

In the fond, but probably vain, hope that we’ve seen the last of the real frosts in the South West of England I’ve planted my watercress out into the pond today.

There still seems to be a body of belief that watercress can only be grown in flowing water – not so! As long as the water is clean and not stagnant watercress can be grown – in ponds, tubs, barrels, even in a pot standing in a saucer of water on the kitchen window-sill if there’s enough light; bright but not hours of full sun. Just make sure the water is changed frequently. Watercress needs wet feet but its head in the air.
Watercress will grow easily from seed but I usually go to the local supermarket and buy a bag; put some of the longer stems into water for a week and, voila, roots!

The best way to harvest seems to be by using it as a ‘cut-and-come-again’ crop – just snip off the leaves you want to use and they’ll be replaced before you can say … um, Watercress! Probably the most important point to remember is that the plants shouldn’t be allowed to flower – the leaves and stems will become tougher and bitter as the plant goes into seed-making mode.

There are any number of recipes using watercress but one of my favourites is to make a mackerel (or other fish) risotto with a tomato sauce and toss a handful of roughly chopped fresh watercress leaves and stems in immediately before serving – makes all the difference!
[There was going to be a risotto photo here, but I ate it! (The meal, not the photo)]

OK – time to go public with this nattering. Be gentle with me!

More blog posts by PeteG

Next post: Bloomin' Spring



Not had a lot to do with watercress Pete, except to eat it. have you ever heard: never cast a clout till may gone out???? we will have more frost, so watch the weather forecast.
Gail x

29 Mar, 2009


Thanks for the comment, Daff - a special GOY medal to you; my first comment on my first blog!
The difference between bought and grown is remarkable and I do have a bit of a 'thing' for watercress! Fortunately, we have something of a micro-climate in Bristol so I'm keeping everything it's feasible to cross, crossed!
Thanks again, and see you around GOY

29 Mar, 2009


I used to collect watercress from a spring with my Gran and make sandwiches out of it. Happy memories :o)

29 Mar, 2009


I'll have to give it a go!........ love watercress!

30 Mar, 2009


What a great first blog! I wish I could plant watercress in our stream, but upstream there is a farm with steers - they stand in the ford in their field....- and let's just say I would NOT want to eat the watercress!

30 Mar, 2009


Ergh! Spritz - a mental image I *didn't* need! Liver fluke plus extra nitrogen!! You could try a pot even in a water feature, though, with suitable beautification to match the rest of your lovely garden.

Sueb - yes, do give it a go - It's really easy and well worth the minimal effort. Just don't let them flower - dreadful taste - and make sure the water doesn't get even a bit manky! If I'm growing on the window-sill, I change the water every day. For tubs, etc, I reckon a good soak-and-drain every 2-3 days probably

Hywel - It's funny what triggers memories isn't it? Something quite simple and you're right back there as if it's real now. Thanks for sharing that memory.

30 Mar, 2009


Great blog Pete...Well done. I don't have a water feature....yet.....but I will have to give it a try with the pot standing in water. Thanks for the information. :o)

30 Mar, 2009


There is wild watercress growing by a stream which runs through the village here.Have to admit to nibbling on it when passing ! Very nice it is too !

30 Mar, 2009


Give it a try, Gilli, and let us know how you get on!

BB - I hope the water is clean! That's the worry these days; sheep and cattle waste, agri run-off and industrial waste certainly don't go well with the W/c part of the environment (or with any other part!!). It tastes so *fresh* though, doesn't it?!

30 Mar, 2009


Its okay Pete..the water is crystal clear and originates from a natural spring higher up !

30 Mar, 2009


Glad to hear it, BB! I could just see the headlines "Killer Watercress in N Yorkshire. Local Gardener Turns Purple And Bits Drop Off!"
Wish I had a natural spring instead of just the one in the mattress which pokes me every time I turn over in the night!

30 Mar, 2009


Nice blog I think I will give it ago

31 Mar, 2009


Oops - Sorry, Donnah, I missed your comment! Give it a go and let us know how you get on. Good Luck!

5 Apr, 2009


Excellent blog!
didn't know you could do that with supermarket watercress. I'll put it on my shopping list!
Do you have a bigger-area(l) photo of yr garden?

14 Apr, 2009


Hi Weeding - I'm suffering from the effects of emergency roof repairs at the moment and trying to get things tidied up again (as well as doing all the Spring garden jobs). Scaffolders who walked all over the waterfall (ruined!), bits of roofing felt everywhere - including in the pond - and a gert big pile of broken tiles! I'll try to catch up on photos when I've sorted things out a bit.
Anyway - yes, give it a go with the watercress and let us know how you get on.

14 Apr, 2009


How is the watercress almost 3 weeks on ?
... and the roof ? and the waterfall ? and the pond ?

16 Apr, 2009


So many questions Tt. There are more questions than answers as Johnny Nash once said!

16 Apr, 2009


Hah - You're right there, Paul! More jobs than energy, too!!
Well, TT, the watercress is still alive and growing but the pigeons from a local loft have decided they like watercress and are flapping in and pecking at it so it's looking a bit sorrry for itself at the moment. The roof's fine (relief!), I'm in the middle of trying to sort the waterfall out (it needed sorting anyway) and the pond is *coooold* when you're up to your shoulder in the water trying to get bits of roofing felt out!
I'm gradually getting there, though and I'll try to get some pictures up when it stops pouring down. For now, it's a bottle of wine and dreams of what it'll all be like *eventually*!

17 Apr, 2009


Looks like the pigeons haven't helped you here, Pete, but over all, with success on the roof, waterfall making progress and the pond warming up over coming days, I'll give you seven out of ten, and hope for encouraging photos of progress as the weeks go by. Lol.

17 Apr, 2009


I looked for wcress @ the supermarket, Pete, but was disappointed to only find salad bags, must b bigger bits of the plant somewhere... was i looking in the wrong place?
All my love to Bristol, gurt lush land of my fathers. x

18 Apr, 2009


At the risk of touting a particular brand, Sainsburys do bags of watercress (organic and ordinary) which is the one I used.
Latest on the watercress (and water forget-me-not and arum lilies, etc) is that I think the pond is low on nutrients. So my challenge now is: how do I feed the plants I actually want without getting huge algal growth ... ? I'll have to cogitate around that!
I gave your love to Bristol and s/he sends it back to you - I doubt if you'd recognise the place now; lots of changes over the last few years (not all for the best, in my opinion!)

18 Apr, 2009

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