Growing Watercress in the Bathtub?
l can finally declare my watercress-growing experiment 100% successful!! (I kick myself, now, for not knowing about it sooner, as I could’ve been growing my own healthful and delicious watercress leaves, at home, for years and years!)
Some weeks ago I set up some watercress to grow, in a large basin of water–half flat spring water, and half tap water. It’s done very well, and is now growing up and over the sides of the basin.
It should now be possible for me to do this on a larger scale. In theory, I can now produce fresh watercress in my bathtub, as there is quite enough light in the bathroom. Since flat springwater is so expensive, I could add a teaspoon or two of garden lime to the water in the bathtub. That should keep it nice and alkaline, as watercress, in nature, flourishes in “chalk streams”–the water run-off from limestone quarries. The aquarium pump and airstone I have, at present, would be of quite sufficient size to keep the water in a bathtub fresh, aerated and non-stagnant.
Maybe I’ll get an old bathtub and put it on the verandah? The fibreglass ones they make, nowadays, are light and easy to carry. Elsewise I could set up a heavy old enamelled metal bathtub in the garden somewhere. A solar-powered pump would mean no electricity co$t$ whatsoever!!!!
Watercress requires sufficient light.
It prefers alkaline conditions. So use non-carbonated spring water available from your supermarket. (I have used 100% springwater successfully, but even 50% springwater would probably be okay–making up the other 50% with tapwater.) Or experiment with small amounts of garden lime added to the water.
Watercress enjoys circulating water. So use an aquarium pump and air stone to circulate the water and keep it fresh and aerated. Solar-electric pump means free electricity!
Plant the rooted pieces of watercress–available from your supermarket–in pots of coarse sand or gravel. You can also put some large pebbles under the pots to increase water circulation underneath a little. (BTW, some Asian shops sell true watercress seeds in their gardening seeds section.)
Submerge pots in the spring water. The plants will be anchored by their roots in the pots; but will be happily growing ABOVE the water. Just as they do in streams.
Do NOT allow watersnails into your watercress pond, as they can carry liverfluke, which are harmful to humans. So no grabbing watersnails from your aquarium and adding them to the watercress tub! (I found a live SLUG in the bunch of watercress I bought from Woolworths, last week! And slugs, snails and watersnails can carry fluke which are harmful to humans if ingested!)
It’s fun to try this, anyway. So get the kids to have a go! (And remember, watercress contains more vitamin C than oranges; more calcium than milk; and more iron than spinach!)
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