Watercress: how to grow it

Watercress is an interesting annual plant to grow in the garden, although it is little known. It is characterized by its adaptability to different soils, it has good cold resistance and can also be grown in a pot if the garden is made on the balcony.

Common watercress (Lepidium sativus) is also called agretto or English watercress and is a plant of the cruciferous or brassica family, like cabbage or radish. It is an aromatic plant that does not require large areas, it is eaten in salads where it is distinguished by its pungent flavor.

It is a rustic plant that does not require phytosanitary interventions and therefore it is very easy to grow organic watercress.

It is excellent as a winter vegetable, since it grows perfectly under tunnel and resists the cold quite well, very practical in family gardens because with scale planting it can be kept on the table practically all year round. Perfect in crop rotation because it has a short cycle and allows you to optimize space in the garden.

Contents [Ocultar]

  • Ideal conditions: climate and soil

  • sown

  • watercress croissant

  • Picking and eating watercress


The ideal conditions: climate and soil

Perfect weather. The common watercress resists the cold quite well, it requires average temperatures of around 15 degrees to live and germinates above 5 degrees, during most of the year it can be cultivated, avoiding the summer months where it is very hot and being helped by crop protection (cold tunnel) for the winter months, especially in the orchards of northern Italy. It is also suitable for the mountains, it does not like excessive sunlight and prefers moist soil. It can be grown without problems also on the balcony in a pot.

Usually I . Common watercress is adaptable and undemanding of soil, so it can grow almost anywhere. It prefers slightly acid soils (pH between 6 and 7) and rich in organic matter, it fears stagnant water like many other plants. Tillage is traditional, with a medium-depth shovel to drain the soil and a well-poured seedbed flattened with a rake. Fertilizing is optional, as the plant is not very demanding.


planting period . Watercress can be sown under the tunnel also in January, from the end of February it also grows in the open ground. You can continue to sow, possibly climbing in the vegetable garden, until the end of May and resume at the end of August, to prevent the plant from going through the hottest periods. From mid-September, it is sown for another month under protection.

Sixth floor . Although it is possible to broadcast it, it is always advisable to plant it in rows so that the weeds can be weeded comfortably. The rows are spaced 10 to 15 cm apart, in the row the seeds are placed close together underground with only a veil of soil on top. The non-woven fabric can be used to promote germination during the winter months, watercress germinates quickly so it does not need to be planted in the seedbed. Instead, it can grow entirely in pots.

grow watercress

Cultivated . It is necessary to keep the beds planted with watercress free of weeds, fortunately thanks to the short cultivation cycle it is not very demanding. Watercress grows well in tunnels and also in pots on the balcony.

Irrigation . Watercress needs frequent watering, even if there is not much water, when planting. So it’s not particularly demanding.

Rotations and associations. This little-known vegetable is interesting because it has a short growth cycle (between 20 days and two months) which makes it perfect for a second crop. Before and after watercress, it is best to avoid other cruciferous plants for a year or two.

Picking and eating watercress

Collection and consumption. Watercress is harvested with scissors or a knife, cutting the leaves as with other cut lettuce, the leaves are ready to harvest when they are 5-10 cm high. It can be harvested until it blooms. It can be eaten fresh, alone or in a salad with lettuce, songino or other fresh vegetables. It can also be put on meat or mixed with fresh cheese as an aromatic herb, giving it a characteristic spicy and sour flavor with a strong personality. If cooked, it loses its flavor, so it is best to use watercress in cooking always fresh .

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