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WATERCHESTNUT GROWING INFORMATION
© Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Eleocharis dulcis
chinese waterchestnut; apulid; haeo chin; cu nang; ma tai; ohkuru guai
Cyperaceae, the Sedge family
Waterchestnuts are a rush-like plant to 1m tall, native to swampy, tropical areas of Asia. There is a small
variety native to the tropical wetlands of Australia.
Waterchestnuts arenutritious, containing B vitamins and can be eaten raw or cooked. They are a common ingredient
in Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian dishes. To prepare; peel or scrub well, and slice thinly, add to stir-fry
dishes and soups. To store; waterchestnuts will keep in the fridge for several weeks and can also be frozen. Do
not freeze the corms you are saving to re-plant, only the ones for eating.
It is important to understand that waterchestnuts are not aquatic plants but rather swamp or edge plants. As you
are growing a root crop it is important for a good yield to have sufficient depth of soil for good root growth.
On a backyard scale a bathtub provides a useful deep waterproof container; on a larger scale a paddy can be
constructed or a dam shaped to create a wide shelf below water level. Plant the corms in early spring 5 cm deep
into your chosen spot. Plant 2 corms to the square metre, overcrowding the corms will dramatically reduce yield.
A rich, sandy, well-limed loam with a pH of 6.5 to 7.2 is needed. Well composted animal manures or other organic
fertilisers can be used to improve fertility. Keep the corms well watered and allow growth to reach around 10 cm
high before flooding 7-10 cm deep. Maintain this depth for the whole growing season which should be at least 7
frost-free months. In late autumn, when the tops have browned off, drain completely to encourage hardening-off
of corms. Leave 3-5 weeks to mature, corms should be a rich chestnut colour. Keep refrigerated until used, or
until replanting next spring. In cooler areas of Australia waterchestnuts can be grown in glasshouses or poly
The corms are ready to harvest when the leaves turn yellow, then turn brown and dry off.
More info on edible waterplants...
Not to TAS or WA
SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered
by residents of TAS
. These restrictions
are very important as they prevent the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots
or strawberries can be sent to SA
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