Ponds and Water Gardening forum: Water Chestnuts (Eleocharis dulcis)

Views: 980, Replies: 16 » Jump to the end
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Jul 3, 2014 8:54 PM CST

Moderator

I've wanted to try growing water chestnuts for some time, and failing to locate a source for plant material that wasn't astronomically priced, I purchased a pound of raw water chestnuts online for about $10. These I pressed into one of my standard 1801(18 pots, 3.5" each, connected together in a tray) deep nursery trays filled with good soilless media (1 pint each). I poured sifted soil from my sand/silt ground over the top to cover everything up and keep any of it from floating out into the water.

After thoroughly drenching it, I submerged it into a shallow tank of water and placed rocks on the pot intersections to keep it from floating up. And then I left it alone for a few weeks. When green growth appeared all over the tray I moved it into a big stock tank where it has gotten pretty tall.
Thumb of 2014-07-04/psa/6a0f20

Maybe 3/4 of the corms sprouted, and the rest rotted away, but I've got a bunch of plants now. They are not only thoroughly rooted, but ready to take over the world around them.
Thumb of 2014-07-04/psa/5a0dcc

I was going to plant them into the bottom of the small stock tank, but now I'm wondering if I should just give them the 8' kiddy pool that I usually use for marginals. I think I have too many of them now. Blinking
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Jul 3, 2014 9:02 PM CST

Moderator

Found this on the site, which has more good info:
http://garden.org/ideas/view/Trux4/1785/Water-Chestnuts/
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
Image
woofie
Jul 4, 2014 11:33 AM CST
What a great idea! But I'm still wondering how do you go about harvesting them to eat? Don't you end up losing the plants that way? Or do they spread and you harvest the excess ones?
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Critter (Jill)
MD (Zone 6b)
We're all learners, doers, teachers
Charter ATP Member Region: Maryland Bulbs Amaryllis Tropicals Cottage Gardener
Critters Allowed Birds Butterflies Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bee Lover
Image
critterologist
Nov 15, 2014 3:01 PM CST
So - how did they do this summer? and how did they taste?

Looks like maybe the "chestnuts" are produced as part of the root system, not the whole root, so some could be pulled off without harming the plant?
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris.
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Nov 17, 2014 12:34 AM CST

Moderator

I harvested one of the ponds last week just before the bitter cold moved in, but I haven't tasted them yet. The corms were loosely connected in among the roots, but you could definitely remove them without killing the plants. Size was a bit smaller than I wanted, though, so i think they needed to grow longer. Next year I'll put them in in April or May.

I'll eat the largest and plant the smallest in the next week or so, and I'll try to get pictures then.
Name: Critter (Jill)
MD (Zone 6b)
We're all learners, doers, teachers
Charter ATP Member Region: Maryland Bulbs Amaryllis Tropicals Cottage Gardener
Critters Allowed Birds Butterflies Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bee Lover
Image
critterologist
Nov 22, 2014 8:13 PM CST
Thanks for the update on them! I'd think tiny would be fun in stir fries.. just toss them in without slicing.

I've got a small pondform that I'm not really ready to install "for real" yet, so maybe I can put it to work next spring for water chestnuts... sounds like I should order them early and start them inside, so they have a long enough season to plump up.
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris.
Name: Paul
Nullawarre, Victoria,Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia
Image
vanozzi
Apr 26, 2015 11:00 AM CST
don't know what I'm going to do with all my water chestnuts this year!!
Thumb of 2015-04-26/vanozzi/26bfb9

Different latitudes, different attitudes
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Apr 27, 2015 4:13 AM CST

Moderator

Very nice. I like them in curries and stir fries, on shish-kabobs and in rice dishes. They are great wrapped in bacon and grilled, but then what isn't? Don't forget to save the small ones to grow out next year (which I failed to do...).

I've got new ones that I keep meaning to plant since they're growing on their own in a tangled mess to the side of my compost pile.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
May 31, 2015 9:44 PM CST
Hey, Paul I picked up some water chestnut corms at an Asian market recently and think I'd like to try growing them. Do you think they'll grow after being refrigerated?

I have 7 large plump corms and a nice contained fish pond with a waterfall. Was thinking the top area of the waterfall would have moving water and make a nice, safe spot for the water chestnut venture.

Would the goldfish eat them or contaminate the water too much? Other pests like raccoons that might eat them? Your thoughts?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Jun 1, 2015 6:56 PM CST

Moderator

They will probably grow after being refrigerated if they didn't get too cold or freeze. I haven't had the fish bother them, but then they produce a tough, fibrous, extensive root system. I haven't seen anything bother them, but I don't have deer or anything, either.
Name: Paul
Nullawarre, Victoria,Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia
Image
vanozzi
Jun 2, 2015 5:29 AM CST
G'day Elaine, good onya for finding 7 plump water chestnut corms for planting, especially as they came from an Asian market.Why I say this is that there is a particular selection named Hon Matai, an improved cultivar, and I would guess that the Asian folk know what they are doing, so that is the first hurdle overcome.In the traditional way, commercial way, they are grown in paddies which are flooded and drained several times, drying out in autumn and harvested in winter.They are refrigerated for human consumption for up to 6 months and this does affect the time it takes for any of those so treated to sprout. So plant them straight away in a warm spot in very moist soil, or soil with water cover no deeper than 3 inches.Once they have sprouted and are about 6 inches tall, transplant them into your chosen spot in the pond.They really should have a minimum 3 inches of depth of water in the pond and the soil depth about 6 inches or more.Ideally they should be planted in early spring and have at least 200 days of frost free growth, perfect for Florida.I very much doubt small goldfish, like comets, would do any damage, perhaps large Koi might, but I have no experience about that.Water chestnuts form an extensive root system, with plants growing up to 5 feet if planted in deep water.They will improve your ponds' eco-system by oxygenating and purifying the water and providing safe habitat for the fish and frogs.
Raccoons are quite rare in Australia, so no idea about their feeding habits.
I think you will find it fairly difficult to kill your water chestnuts in your climate and they will reward you with a decent harvest.In perfect cultivation, one corm can produce up to 3 kilos (so I have been told).
This is just my understanding Elaine, I've only been growing them for a few years, so I hope there is something of use in what I have written.
Different latitudes, different attitudes
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jun 2, 2015 7:55 AM CST
Wow, thanks to both of you Pauls! Vanossi, that's very encouraging to think I may have a newer cultivar here. The corms are a really nice size, nearly 2in. on the largest one and it has taken me some restraint not to peel and eat any of them. (I did have my choice from a fair sized bin at the Asian market, so of course I looked for large ones, and also for any that had potential sprouting growth.

We shall see. They are out on my patio sitting with just the bases in water, in bright shade, and our night temperatures are not going below about 75F these days. No frost is expected before at least January.

I will post some pictures here if and when we have sprouting! I do have some fair sized goldfish in my pond but they don't have access to the top area of the waterfall so the water chestnuts will be safe at least for this year. Once they grow, and really get going, I do have an old bathtub like yours that may be pressed into use for growing my delicious food crop.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jun 2, 2015 7:53 PM CST
Looks like I have shoots starting on a couple of my water chestnuts!
Hurray!
Thumb of 2015-06-03/dyzzypyxxy/76fb98

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Jun 3, 2015 12:40 AM CST

Moderator

Yay! Seems like mine tend to root from those shoots on top, though, so you may need a bit more media over them.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jun 3, 2015 9:02 AM CST
Yup, they're just sitting on top of some orchid medium that I had soaking there.

The plan is to pot up the ones that put up shoots and then situate the pot into the pond.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jun 17, 2015 8:39 AM CST
Help! Paul and Paul if you are still watching, please advise me on this - how do I pot up my nicely growing water chestnuts? Six of the seven corms I had have grown now.

I have the impression from what I've seen that the roots need to grow out into the water in order for the plants to form new 'chestnuts'? So if I pot them in a pot with solid sides, will they manage this? I had a clay pot all ready with heavy rocks in the bottom to hold it down, and some good medium for pond growing, but stopped when it occurred to me that this may not work.

How about a basket, with the chestnuts just nestled down into the top layer of medium?

Thumb of 2015-06-17/dyzzypyxxy/9162b2 Thumb of 2015-06-17/dyzzypyxxy/9f93b9

While we're at it, do the plants need full sun? Part of my pond gets a lot more sun than the top of the waterfall where I was going to put them.

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Jun 19, 2015 6:20 PM CST

Moderator

This is only my second year with water chestnuts. I've grown them in large (wide) pots and directly in media in the pond. In both cases they formed dense mats of roots and leaves and the new corms grew among them. I found they grew faster with more sun, and could handle our brutal heat as long as they were well covered in water. Some that I kept as controls did manage okay in the shade, but hardly spread and produced no new corms to speak of.

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ponds and Water Gardening forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Dianthus 'Nyewood Cream'"