We are all accustomed to using fresh herbs literally every day during the warm periods of the season, and in cold periods it is more difficult to do this - you cannot grow greens in your own garden in winter. This problem can be easily solved by arranging a vegetable garden on a personal windowsill. For example, watercress is easy to grow on a windowsill.
Useful properties of watercress
Watercress is a well-known vegetable culture belonging to the cruciferous family, which contains a large amount of vitamins (A, K, B1, C), essential oils (with a predominance of mustard oils) and a whole complex of various microelements (most of all iron, iodine, phosphorus and potassium). It is reliably known that Hippocrates used watercress for medicinal purposes and recommended its use in food.
The calorie content of watercress is extremely low (32 kcal per 100 grams), therefore it is often included in the diet of people on a diet.
Other names of the culture are horseradish, tsitsimati, tertizak, kotem.
The use of culture in food allows you to strengthen the immune system, weaken cough, improve the metabolic processes of the body, the work of the gastrointestinal tract, and nerve cells.
Even lubricating compositions, lotions and infusions and decoctions are prepared from the culture, which are used to treat acne and other skin diseases.
Of course, this salad is not only healthy, but also tastes good, it tastes like horseradish.
Is it difficult to grow watercress
It is easy to grow this culture - both at home and in the open field. It practically does not require maintenance, grows quickly, is a cold-resistant crop and is very shade-tolerant too.
There are three main varieties of watercress:
- curly - having a small rosette of leaf blades 17 cm in size, as well as raised leaves with a strong dissection - a good cultivar - Azhur;
- sowing - characterized by a large rosette of leaf blades up to 21 cm in diameter, the leaves are horizontal, very wide and solid, good cultivars - Dansky and Zabava;
- whole-leaved - has an even larger rosette of leaf blades, which are very narrow and poorly cut, the best variety is Dukat.
Where to start growing watercress
First you need to choose a variety. Good varieties of watercress, suitable for growing on a windowsill: Flagman - 11-13 days after germination, it can be removed;
- Piquant - can be harvested 16-18 days after germination;
- Ducat - harvested after about 19 days;
- Pace - ready for cleaning after 19-20 days;
- Fun - ready for cleaning in 21-22 days;
- Chord - can be removed after 26-27 days.
It is best to purchase a plastic container, it can be in the form of a bowl, bowl, plate, tray, deep pot, for example, for flower plants. The optimal height is 11-12 cm.
Next, you need to prepare the substrate, usually a mixture of soil, humus and river sand in equal proportions.
Growing watercress on a windowsill
It is necessary to take a container and lay a drainage layer (broken brick, expanded clay) 1 cm thick in it, making sure in advance that the container has drainage holes. Further - the substrate with a layer of 2-3 cm, which must be very well moistened with water at room temperature, then add the substrate to a height of 8-9 cm and moisten again. After 10-15 minutes after moistening the substrate, it is necessary to make rows in it 0.5 cm deep with a distance between them 12-16 cm, depending on the type of watercress - the higher it is, the more distance you need to do.
Next, we sow seeds into the grooves, previously soaked in water for a quarter of an hour, and sprinkle them with a centimeter layer of soil.
After that, cover the container with the sown seeds with cling film or glass and make sure that the soil does not dry out, periodically moistening it from a spray bottle.
At the same time, the temperature in the room needs to be maintained at a comfortable level and you and me + 21 ... + 22 ° C and try to prevent the temperature from dropping below + 18 ° C, otherwise the seedlings will not appear soon, and will not rise above + 25 ° C - then even young plants will be very bitter ...
Usually, seedlings appear within a week and, as soon as they appear, the film must be removed from the container and try to lower the temperature in the room to + 16 ° C. At this temperature, the root system of the watercress develops more actively and in the future it will develop better.
Further care for watercress is completely uncomplicated and consists in periodic watering with water at room temperature from a spray bottle as the soil dries up, as well as in humidifying the air near the watercress in the same way. A week after the emergence of seedlings, the temperature should be brought to normal, equal to + 21 ... 22 ° C.
Top dressing. 8 days after sprouting, watercress can be fed with nitroammophos by dissolving a standard teaspoon of fertilizer in a bucket of water and adding 1 liter of the resulting solution per square meter of dishes. If the salad grows well, then there is no point in additionally fertilizing the soil - act according to the circumstances and remember that excess nutrition can turn into harmful substances that accumulate in the leaves, so you cannot exceed the indicated dosage.
Watering. It is extremely important to prevent even a short-term drying out of the soil in the container where the plants grow - if moisture is in short supply, the plants may die.
Lighting enough from the window, for which the salad must be placed on the southern windowsill and once a day turned over to the other side to the light so that the plants develop normally.
Collecting greens of watercress
Usually, after a couple of weeks (or a little less), the salad can be cut off, and harvesting watercress also has its own subtleties. So, the required amount of watercress can be cut off when they reach a height of about 10 cm. It is better to remove the green mass when the plants are in turmoil, in the morning or in the evening.
If the salad is not used immediately, then it can be stored in the refrigerator for about 24 hours, and when the cut green mass is placed in a container with water, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
When the plants reach a height of 15 cm, they should be cut off at the base of the container or completely removed, along with the root system. Remember that when overripe, the taste of the salad becomes very bitter and can ruin the dish to which you add it, so it is best not to overripe.
Cut lettuce does not grow back; to extend the harvesting period, the seed should be sown after 14 days. Up to a kilogram of greens can be harvested from a square meter.
Plants with green leaf blades are considered especially fruitful, while those that form purple leaf blades are less productive.
Growing watercress without a substrate
You should know - it is permissible to grow a crop on a windowsill without soil, for example, in cotton wool, paper napkins and similar materials - the principle of growing is the same as growing in a substrate. However, you need to sow the seeds in moistened cotton wool or other substrate, laid in a layer of 2 cm and well moistened. In this case, seedlings appear faster by a day or two than when grown in soil, but it is necessary to strictly monitor the moisture content of the cotton wool - it dries faster than the soil.
They also manage to grow watercress in an ordinary bowl with water poured into it, such a salad is eaten whole, along with the roots and is eaten when it reaches a height of 4-5 cm, and sometimes less.
It's so simple and easy to grow watercress on a windowsill.