How to Grow Watercress Northumberland

Wild watercress growing in streams may or may not be safe and finding out can be difficult. To ensure a safe supply of watercress, it's best to buy it or grow it. If you do eat watercress from ponds or streams, it is safest to cook it thoroughly.

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How to Grow Watercress

Growing Watercress at Home in Your Garden or Backyard

Growing watercress at home is not so hard.

Why not learn how to grow watercress?

Growing watercress - the wild kind

Watercress growing wild - image thanks to Mick E.Talbot

Growing watercress at home in your garden or backyard can be a good way to ensure a steady supply.

Watercress growing in a back garden or yard is perfectly possible.

You need a source of clean, preferably running water and some shady, cool space for your watercress to grow, undisturbed.

Why bother growing watercress?

Watercress is a great food plant. It contains vitamin C and some B. It has a reputation for helping the body to become balanced. It has even been touted as a possible cure for cancer.

Clearly it is a valuable food plant.

Wild watercress dangers

Water cress grows wild in many places, However, there can be problems with using wild watercress.

There is a parasite known as liver fluke, which can affect humans. The eggs of this charming beastie can lurk in the water of ditches, streams and ponds and can be harboured by plants growing in such places. Sheep and other ruminants can be affected and there is a fairly common pond snail which is also part of the life-cycle. Recent research shows that several species of water snail may harbour juvenile liver fluke.

Liver fluke infestation can be serious - and does not occur just in the far East. It causes abdominal pain and can be hard to treat. Cases have been found in the US and Europe - and one of the commonest causes is eating uncooked watercress, usually near where sheep are kept.

If you can be reasonably sure that your local stream is unpolluted and if it harbours no fresh water snails and if there is no stock grazing nearby, then the watercress is probably safe! That's quite a few ifs...!

If you are lucky enough to live near wild watercress that has been eaten continuously by local people, then maybe you will be OK to join them. It would seem a shame to neglect such a wonderful source of free, nutritious food needlessly! Nevertheless, we live in cautious times and most people will not fancy the outside risk of infection.

A safe supply

Wild watercress growing in streams may or may not be safe and finding out can be difficult. To ensure a safe supply of watercress, it's best to buy it or grow it. If you do eat watercress from ponds or streams, it is safest to cook it thoroughly.

Watercress is available in supermarkets and farm shops but it's not always easy to find. It does not last so very long. It has to be either vacuum packed or stood in water - and even then it goes off quite quickly.

So to be sure of a regular and safe supply, growing watercress at home looks like a good option.

Commercial watercress growing is often done to a very high standard. In the UK it has been grown for generations in the south of England. There is even a railway named the Watercress line which goes through the traditional growing areas. Growers take care of pests by crea...

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