WATERCRESS (Nasturtium officinale)

Few amateurs realize that watercress can be quite well grown in the ordinary garden without any stream. It certainly likes moist soil, and for this reason is grown in trenches. Beds are made up so that the surface soil is about 3 in. below the ordinary level of the plot, and cuttings of watercress are dibbled in about 6 in. apart each way.

Unless the season is wet, or unless the soil is naturally very moist, water must be given in liberal quantities. This is the reason for opening out the shallow trench, since it encourages rains to run towards the roots. If watercress is grown in a small running stream, it will be finer in quality than that grown in the ordinary garden. It is essential in such a case to keep the stream clean by annual attention.

Storage of Vegetables

In most cases, vegetables are used as soon as possible after gathering, except in the case of root crops for winter consumption.

These are frequently lifted at the end of the summer, and stored in boxes of dry sand, soil, or ashes. The essential thing is to keep them away from frost, but not too hot, and if they can at the same time be kept from drying out too rapidly, their condition will be all the better.

In large gardens, allotments, and where storage space is limited, root crops can be stored in the open in a “clamp.” This is made as follows:

The highest available part of the plot is chosen, and the roots— potatoes, parsnips, turnips, or others—are piled there in the form of a long ridge. To keep them from actual contact with the soil, a layer of straw is laid down first. Straw can also be used between each layer of roots.

After the pile is made, straw is used to cover the sides of the ridge, so that frost is excluded. Over this straw is piled more soil, dug from the base of the ridge, leaving a shallow trench. The soil covering should be about 4-6 in. thick. The trench round the clamp serves to catch heavy rains, and keeps the clamp drier.

A few handfuls of straw are allowed to protrude here and there from the top of the ridge, like small chimneys, and indeed they serve that purpose, for they carry from the clamp moisture and heat that might cause trouble, and they allow for good ventilation among the roots in store.

Roots so stored will remain in good condition for many months. They can be used from one end of the ridge, the straw covering being always put back so that frost cannot enter.

03. September 2013 by admin
Categories: Kitchen Gardens, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on WATERCRESS (Nasturtium officinale)

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