awesome stuff I never knew how to properly start water chestnuts, why I keep throwing them in water to rot is beyond me. I had the same problem with water rest till I tried it in soil. I thought my chestnuts were bad but it was really my moron technique
The water chestnut experiment was completed today. Overall, I would say that the experiment to see if water chestnuts could be grown in southern Oregon was a success.
However, the total yield was very small (~2 lbs) from the 16 initial plants (~1 lb). Many of corms are still immature, small and have not formed a "skin", so I don't think they will hold over the winter for replanting. We will eat those and save the largest corms for next year.
I can think of several ways to potentially improve the yield in future test plots:
1) plant earlier in the year - sprouting the corms in early May may have been too late; starting them in late March may provide the extra 45 days or so that I think would make a big difference.
2) deeper soil and water - the several inches of topsoil that I placed in the artificial bog was not enough based on my observation of the root mass. I would like to increase the soil depth to at least 6 inches of muck with 6 inches of water above it. This would provide a more stable environment during our dry summer season.
3) increase the fertility - the topsoil tests for trace amounts of N/P/K. Adding a bushel or so of well rotted/composted manure to the soil a couple weeks after planting would likely allow the water chestnuts to have even more robust growth above and below the water line. I am impressed they grew as vigorously as they did with very little added fertility.
Anyone searching for detailed info on growing Eleocharis dulcis, I found a very in-depth feasibility study that was done in Hawaii which discusses things like climate, temperature, soil fertility, how deep to plant, etc... Very thorough and helpful. Even for those of us in colder climates.
It's a 10 page PDF file. Authored by:
Rain Garden Ornamentals
49-041 Kamehameha Highway
Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744
I would attach the document if I could figure out how, but am working with a computer that is new to me and unable to figure out how.