The fun of gardening, to me, is trying to grow something different, as well as planting reliable favorites. That enthusiasm took over at the annual seed-buying potluck supper that my community garden members have every January. That’s when I bought watercress seeds.
I didn’t know the first thing about growing watercress.
The catalog (Fedco’s) indicated that the seeds could be sown in a soggy stream bank or in a pot. That seemed like two very different methods, so when it came time to plant, I opted for a combination—a birdbath. Being shallow and able to hold an inch or so of soil and water, I thought it would be something like a soggy bank.
As you can see, it worked—the seeds set!
But not without some difficulty. One day, I left the birdbath outside on the deck. A rain shower caused an overflow, carrying away some seedlings. Later, I lost a few more when I poured off excess water to keep the seedlings from drowning.
Another day, I put the birdbath out with, it seems, too little water. A patch of seedlings (look near the middle) collapsed.
Now, I keep the birdbath in a sheltered area if rain is forecast and I won’t be home to move it indoors and I manage the water flow, keeping the soil moist.
Harvest is a long way off, but if I get one salad—ok, one tea sandwich—from this experiment, I’ll be happy . . . and game to try it again.
What are you experimenting with this growing season? And do tell: If you’ve ever grown watercress, please share your experience—and advice!
Janice Stillman joined the Almanac as editor in 2000. When she is not working the words, she enjoys peddling a bicycle, growing things to eat, cooking, and handcrafts (especially knitting because needles and yarn can be taken anywhere).