Stay Connected

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Growing a Plate of Watercress Indoors on the Windowsill

Sorry I missed posting the last 2 days. We had a very busy weekend, followed by Valentine's Day (which was also busy). On Sunday, we had the opportunity to see the current play my daughter is in. As I've mentioned before, this theater is a comedy-only theater. And this current play was hilarious -- a very enjoyable time. Plus we got to see my son and daughter-in-law. Tuesday (Valentine's Day), was a busy day, too. Time with family members, a special lunch at home, then later a special dinner at home. It was fun and thrifty. 

Now I'm back, and I wanted to tell you about my latest vegetable experiment, this one indoors.

I started a plate of watercress seeds on a wet paper towel set on a plate on Monday. 

I covered the whole thing with a ziploc plastic bag to hold in moisture while the seeds germinate. I didn't cover the seeds with another paper towel, as I've read others do, but put the covered plate out of direct sunlight. 

2 days after starting the watercress seeds -- sprouts are appearing

The seeds are beginning to germinate. Watercress is a quick sprouting seed. Once more the seeds have sprouted, I'll move the covered plate to a southeast-facing windowsill. I'll loosen the plastic bag once the tiny plants begin to grow and will spritz with water daily. When the plants look sturdy enough to not have the plastic bag covering, I'll remove it and just keep the plate of watercress sprouts well-spritzed.

I collected these seeds from my garden watercress. It self-seeds throughout the garden, providing early peppery greens for us from mid to late-March through early-May. When seed pods began to set last summer, I pick off a few before the pods opened and spread seeds. I started my watercress with root-on watercress herbs purchased in the produce section of the grocery store 20 years ago. I planted the cress that we couldn't use before it wilted and it has just kept self-seeding all of these years.

Last winter I watched  several British Food Ministry films produced during World War II to help their population feed themselves during this desperately difficult period in history. At the beginning of the war, England was importing a lot of their food. One of the tactics used against them during the war was a blockade against shipments of food and other necessities, an attempt by the Axis powers to basically starve them into submission. One of the suggestions given by the British Food Minister was for citizens to grow watercress sprouts on a sunny windowsill in their flats or homes. 

Watercress is easy and inexpensive to grow, can be grown indoors in less sunny/warm months, and is high in vitamin C. Oranges and other citrus fruits would have been imports prior to the war. With importation blockades on the major shipping routes, oranges became very scarce. When a town could get oranges, they were usually reserved for children. England needed to find foods they could grow year round to provide the needed vitamin C for the entire population. 1 cup of fresh watercress has nearly 1/4 of the RDA of vitamin C for teens and adults and almost 1/2 the RDA of Vitamin C for children under age 13. And, a family could grow their own watercress as a daily dietary addition for just the cost of seeds.

I know I've recommended the following video before. Here it is once again with mention of growing watercress and mustard greens on the windowsill, beginning around the 1:00 minute mark.

Wartime Ministry Food, England: Mrs. T and Her Cabbage Patch

I'll keep you updated as to this watercress experiment. 


  1. This looks very interesting to me. Are you growing this for sprouts or plants? Will you be adding anything else besides water?

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I believe that what they were growing and eating during WW2 was what we call micro greens, somewhere between sprouts and small plants. So that's my aim with these. And, no, I don't plan on adding anything besides water.

  2. I'm not sure if I've ever eaten watercress before. This looks like a fun project and I love learning about the WWII history that you shared.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I agree, I enjoy learning about how they managed during WW2, especially how citizens managed everyday life. Another way they were able to get vitamin C without citrus was with rose hip syrup, something citizens could make themselves with the hips from their own rose bushes. Interesting stuff.

    2. My brother was stationed in England when his son was born. My sister-in-law said he absolutely loved having his rose hip syrup. This was in the 70's.

    3. Oh, that's interesting, Jude. Even that many years after WW2 folks were using reship syrup. Thanks for sharing this tidbit of info.


Thank you for joining the discussion today. Here at creative savv, we strive to maintain a respectful community centered around frugal living. Creative savv would like to continue to be a welcoming and safe place for discussion, and as such reserves the right to remove comments that are inappropriate for the conversation.


Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post