How We Grow Watercress


The principles of growing watercress have essentially changed little over the years. Much of the work is still done by hand, but some modernisation has taken place.

Until the mid 50s watercress was predominantly a winter crop and to support this there were up to 10 times the area of production as the crop grows slow during this period compared to the faster summer period. This winter production suited the farms as they often dried up in the summer or over time became unsuitable for production or even sold for development.

This left a reduced area and with the issues created from reproducing crops, the industry moved to a more reliable and successful system of propagation from seeds.

TWC produces all its own seeds and this is a very important part of the turnaround from the production crash in the 50s.

Harvesting has become mechanised which is a far cry from the back breaking hand harvested which was a really tough job. The cleaning out is now done with a tractor and we have also recently mechanised fertiliser applications to increase efficiency and reduce inputs.

Please follow the process below to learn more about how we grow watercress.

 

# 1

Cleaning out from the last crop.

# 2:

Adding clean gravel to the beds.

# 3:

Preparing a level bed to sow seeds in to.

# 4:

Seeds germinate after a week.

# 5:

Crop is quality checked before harvest.

# 6:

Harvesting daily throughout the season.

# 7:

Harvesters remove any insects on shaker conveyors.

# 8:

Offloaded and chilled within one hour.

# 9:

Dispatched within six hours from harvest.

Propagation, cleaning out and levelling only take place at certain times of the year when watercress is prone to flowering. For the rest of the year, once the crop is harvested it is allowed to re-grow from the stubble and can be harvested again.