Watercress, also called watercress, watercress or river cress, is a vegetable in the brassicaceae family. The Latin name "" nasturtium "" translates as "" grimacing nose "" to evoke the spicy taste of watercress. Watercress is a perennial plant that forms creeping shoots at the bottom of the water, from which hollow stems grow that rise out of the water. The watercress can be eaten, we mainly eat soup and watercress salad.
Characteristics of watercress
The watercress plant can reach about sixty centimeters, its emerged leaves are pinnate and fleshy, dark green in color. Under the leaves appear small bulbs which detach and give new plants. Small white flowers of 5 to 6 mm with yellow anthers are revealed from June to September. The watercress is mainly cultivated to be eaten. Its hour of glory took place under the Roman Empire, a period during which it was thought that the watercress prevented hair loss.
Cultivation of watercress
To flourish, the watercress needs a lot of water and light, which however should not be that of the sun. He therefore prefers a shaded area or an indoor location under a small lamp. There is no predilection period for growing watercress although planting is generally carried out from March to June. A potting soil composed of equal parts of vermiculite peat moss and compost is generally recommended. The ideal temperature for your watercress plants is between 20 and 25 ° C.
Growing watercress requires very little maintenance: in fact, you just have to be careful that the water does not stagnate at the base of the plant. You can also remove weeds that tend to grow around your watercress plant.
Harvest of watercress
In Europe, the harvest generally takes place between June and September. You can harvest watercress about a month after transplanting. However, as the leaves only grow in a few days, it can be done regularly with a knife or scissors.
The watercress is robust but can be attacked by a fungus, "" damping-off ". If necessary, you will have to get rid of your seedlings. Also watch out for liver fluke which sometimes affects watercress when it has been in contact with manure. This parasitic worm can affect your health or the health of your animals if they consume infected watercress.