200 SEEDS- WATERCRESS Seeds  - Nasturtium officinale - Sow All Year, Perennial Heirloom--- A019
200 SEEDS- WATERCRESS Seeds  - Nasturtium officinale - Sow All Year, Perennial Heirloom--- A019

200 SEEDS- WATERCRESS Seeds - Nasturtium officinale - Sow All Year, Perennial Heirloom--- A019

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200 SEEDS- WATERCRESS Seeds - Nasturtium officinale - Sow All Year, Perennial Heirloom

Watercress is often cultivated for its edible leaves. Plants will often continue to grow all through mild winters. A fast-growing plant, the stems trail along the ground or float in water and produce new roots at the leaf nodes, thus making the plant very easy to propagate Vegetatively . Watercress is easily grown when given the correct conditions of slowly flowing clean water, preferably coming from chalky or limestone soils. It prefers to grow in water about 5 cm deep with an optimum pH 7.2. Plants can be grown in wet soil if the position is somewhat shaded and protection is given in winter, though the flavor may be hotter.

Watercress is very rich in vitamins and minerals, and has long been valued as a food and medicinal plant. Considered a cleansing herb, its high content of vitamin C makes it a remedy that is particularly valuable for chronic illnesses. Hardy to about -15°c. The flowers are a rich source of pollen and so are very attractive to bees. Sow spring in a pot immersed to half its depth in water. Germination should take place within a couple of weeks. Prick out seedlings into individual pots whilst they are still small and increase the depth of water gradually until they are submerged. Plant out into a pond in the summer. Cuttings can be taken at any time in the growing season. Virtually any part of the plant, including a single leaf, will form roots if detached from the parent plant. Just put it in a container of water until the roots are well formed and then plant out in shallow water. Edible uses Leaves - raw or cooked. Water cress is mainly used as a garnish or as an addition to salads, the flavor is strong with a characteristic hotness. It has a reputation as a spring tonic, and this is its main season of use, though it can be harvested for most of the year and can give 10 pickings annually.

Some caution is advised if gathering the plant from the wild, see the notes above on toxicity. The leaves are exceptionally rich in vitamins and minerals. The seed can be sprouted and eaten in salads. A hot mustardy flavor. The seed is ground into a powder and used as a mustard. The pungency of mustard develops when cold water is added to the ground-up seed - an enzyme (myrosin) acts on a glycoside (sinigrin) to produce a sulphur compound. The reaction takes 10 - 15 minutes. Mixing with hot water or vinegar, or adding salt, inhibits the enzyme and produces a mild but bitter mustard.

Step by Step to Grow Watercress: Create the Bog Watercress grows best in cool but sunny spots. If there is a small creek or stream on your property, grow watercress there. Otherwise, it may be necessary to create a bog. Dig a hole about 2' across and 12" deep Loosely fit black plastic pond liner over the hole, pressing it down with your hands. Trim the excess off the top, leaving a 3" or 4" lip at the top. Use a garden fork to punch a few holes in the sides of the liner for drainage Prepare the Site Combine one part garden soil, one part coarse builder's sand, one part compost, and one part mushroom compost. Add a handful of slow-release fertilizer to the mix. Pour the mixture into the bog, filling it to within 1" or 2" of the top. Cover the remaining exposed liner with soil. Fill the bog thoroughly with water. Plant the Watercress Plant watercress seeds in the bog by sowing them 1/4" deep and about 1/2" apart. Cover the seeds with fine garden soil and gently water them in. Keep the bed moist until the seeds germinate. Cultivate the Watercress Thin seedlings to about 5" to 8" apart after germination. Maintain adequate moisture levels in the bog. In hot weather, watercress will be covered with small white flowers. When cool weather returns, cut back the flowers to encourage new tender growth. Harvest the Watercress To harvest watercress, cut the leaves and stems a few inches above the ground. Watercress is a perennial, meaning it will come back year after year, and new growth will come up from the ground after each cutting. Although it can be harvested any time of year, its flavor is best during the cooler months.