Watercress - approx 500 seeds
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Watercress - approx 500 seeds

The European watercress - Nasturtium officinale, as been eaten as part of the human diet as far back as history can record. Fortified with more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals, even since ancient times its health giving properties have been highly valued. In fact Hippocrates - the Father of modern medicine - is said to have deliberately located his first hospital beside a stream so that he could grow a plentiful and convenient supply of watercress with which to help treat his patients.

Watercress is a delightful salad plant either by itself or tossed with other salad ingredients and delicious with cheese sandwiches or with a cheese dip - it even makes superb cold soups. The dark green peppery flavoured leaves of Water Cress are rich in vitamins and minerals including vitamin C and iron. Although usually grown commercially in water it can be grown in the garden soil provided it is given plenty of water and will crop from early summer till around Christmas if protected with cloches etc. You can also grow it in a container stood in a saucer of water.

Sow seeds in mid spring when the soil has warmed up in very shallow drills spread 7.5cm (3in) apart, and cover with a light covering of soil. As regular watering is necessary you may wish to have your drill at the bottom of a small trench approximately 8-10cm (3-4in) deep for easier watering.To grow in a container, plant 3-4 to a 30cm (12in) tub or pot and stand in a container with about 2-3in of water, in the shade. Keep the water constantly topped up to this level.

<span style="\\\\&quot;line-height:" 1.6em;\\\\"="">Thin out the seedlings finally to 10cm (4in) apart and water regularly and copiously throughout the season.

Keep weed free and harvest once the plants have become well developed by trimming off tops of the shoots with sharp scissors. Don't cut too low down in order to allow the stems to produce side shoots.

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