Growing watercress at zero waste towers

Filed in Blog by on July 8, 2009 9 Comments
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Mr Green's watercress at the beginning of the season

Mr Green's watercress at the beginning of the season

As you might remember, Mr Green is living true to his name. He’s on a green diet; in other words, a high raw diet.

His food consists of raw fruit, vegetables  and salads with avocados, olives and mixed seeds. Oh, except on Sundays when he has a full blown roast dinner with 2 helpings of chocolate pudding and a bottle of wine.

Never mind; he is looking sprightly, handsome as ever and has shifted 12lbs in 4 weeks. Plus, he is creating little landfill waste. (as well as developing a zero waist of his own)

Mr Green has always been partial to a bit of the green stuff and was regularly buying posh salad bags along with watercress in the supermarket. Unfortunately this created a lot of waste.

It is estimated by WRAP that half the bagged salad we eat gets thrown away; and I reckon this is true.

It doesn’t keep for long unopened, let alone once open to the air and then you have all the cellophane salad bags to contend with.

But after lots of nagging reassurance and encouragement from you, dear readers, to grow our own salad; we have a veritable feast growing in our own garden.

Each day, Mr Green steps out into the garden with an empty plate and returns with his dinner.

The most exciting thing is not the cut and come again salad which really does grow before your eyes.
is it the dead bits of thyme twig I stuck in a pot and have grown beautifully.
It’s not even my exciting pumpkin plants that are snaking across the patio and threatening to hold us hostage for the summer.

No, it’s the watercress.

We are growing watercress sans water.

It’s all been a lie.

Watercress doesn’t need to grow in water at all. It just needs to be well tended with a lot of water until it’s established and then it grows like a weed.

A very tenacious weed.

How exciting is that?

We never thought it could be so easy, but it is.

So if you love those peppery green leaves too, but you never get through an entire bag of it before it turns yellow and slimy, why not have a go at growing your own watercress in some large pots?

I’ll let you into another secret about growing it too.

Get a regular bunch of watercress from the supermarket; scoff the lot apart from a couple of sprigs. Stick the aforementioned sprigs into a glass of water; wait for the roots to appear and then chuck them in the soil.

Make sure it has plenty of water and it will propagate like mint.

Easy, eh?

Now let’s take a look at what Mr Green is eating for his dinner. Bless him; I caught him totally off guard, but he rose to the occasion beautifully:



About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (9)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    A great range of greens, including sweet basil, for Mr Green. Covering these edibles is fiine for others to copy, myself included. My focus is still on the basil with now 6 pots to family and neighbours. The structure is a fascinating aspect with cut-off stalk and branch leading to new leaf growth below the breaks.

    Jumping way ahead to food waste, Steve McLeod, over in Canada, is collecting food waste from his local area for $5 per household. The material is then processed by the council, with compost returned to homes yearly. I just wonder if that would be worth a try here in view of the slowness in developing AD etc.

    Details on:

  2. Sarah says:

    Isn’t growing your own just the best?
    Well done!

  3. Mrs Green says:

    Hi John – great story; thank you! I have heard of one more entrepreneur doing this kind of thing. I think using food waste to return compost to local homes is a fabulous idea for those who cannot compost at home.

    Thanks Sarah! What has been your greatest success in the garden? Have you grown anything new this year?

  4. Sarah says:

    Success story for last year was carrots! I’ve never managed to grow carrots very well, they turned out spindly and forked, full of holes etc. But last year I grew and ate loads! This year we’re trying to grow butternut squash and melons – I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Potatoes failed miserably though.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Sarah: I’m trying squash this year too – for the first time. Along with pumpkins – We all hate the flesh, but I want the seeds! I’ll have to find someone to donate a load of pumpkin soup and pies to LOL!

    I ate my first carrot on Sunday – I was deliriously happy as I have never been able to grow them before. Glad you are successful too.
    Shame about the potatoes; we have heaps of them… GOod luck with the melons!

  6. Sarah says:

    @Mrs Green: we’re the other way round, love the flesh but the hens get the seeds….

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @Sarah: Shame we’re not neighbours Sarah; we could do a fine trade!

  8. Poppy says:

    We had some lovely pumpkin soup last year, but I couldn’t work out what to do with the seeds.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: I’m going to air dry them over the woodburner and see if that works. I hope so, I seem to have about 20 pumpkin flowers on each plant! I can’t believe each one will grow but I’m getting conflicting advice – some sources say to remove all but three flowers, whereas other people leave them all on.

    Ho hum.

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