Morphology and yield of watercress grown in floating system

B. Benko, N. Toth, S. Fabek, L. Čoga, S. Radman, I. Zutić
Despite the significant nutritional and health values, watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is still insufficiently known and explored leafy vegetables. Being habitant of flowing water ensure possibility of watercress hydroponic cultivation in floating system. An experiment was conducted during springtime of 2012 with the aim to determine the effects of nutrient solution composition and EC-value (2.5 and 3.2 dS 
m-1) and sowing density (3500, 5300 and 7000 seeds m-2) on morphological traits and yield of watercress grown in floating system. During the vegetation period (60 days) three harvests were carried out. Morphological traits were not affected by tested factors, while significant effects of tested factors and their interactions on yield were determined. Growing watercress in a nutrient solution with EC-value 3.2 dS m-1 with sowing density 5300 seeds m-2 resulted with the highest values of morphological traits: mass (6.82 g), number of leaves (17) and leaf length (6.81 cm). These plants also had the highest dry matter content (9.68%). The highest total yield (4.24 kg m-2) was achieved by combination of factors 2.5 dS m-1 × 3500 seeds m-2. The share of single harvest yield in a total average yield (3.07 kg m-2) varied from 24.8% for the first harvest to 44.6% for the third harvest. Floating system is appropriate growing technique for watercress with possible multiple harvest. Higher yield of less developed watercress plants is a result of higher plant density achieved in a nutrient solution with lower EC-value.
Benko, B., Toth, N., Fabek, S., Čoga, L., Radman, S. and Zutić, I. 2016. Morphology and yield of watercress grown in floating system. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1142:111-118
Nasturtium officinale, nutrient solution, morphological traits, yield

Acta Horticulturae