Plant an Edible Water Garden

A water garden can provide interesting plants to eat as well as beautiful flowers or handsome foliage. Learn how to make your own edible water garden filled with delicious vegetables using these three easy steps.

An edible water garden is a low-maintenance option for a small space gardener to grow vegetables. There are many options for plants to grow in your water garden. You can eat the leaves of water fern, water spinach, and chameleon plant (although some find it too bitter for their taste). The leaves, tuberous roots, and seeds of lotus are mainstays in Asian cuisine. Add the leaves of water celery to soups for a mild celery flavor. Use the leaves of water mint as you would other mints. Harvest the tubers of duck potato and roast them. Watercress requires moving water, and is difficult to grow successfully in a pot.

For our edible water garden, we chose water chestnuts. You can plant water chestnuts in any shallow container that will hold water. If you plan to put them in a pond, use a container that has drainage holes in the bottom or sides. Gather the corms of water chestnuts and use them in a stir-fry or hors d'oeuvre. Follow this step-by-step guide to build your own edible water garden.

  • Working Time 1 Hour
  • Start to Finish 1 Hour
  • Difficulty         Projects Easy
  • Involves Planting

What you need


  • Garden trowel
  • Watering can


  • Plastic pots or tubs
  • Garden soil
  • Pea gravel or pebbles
  • Tubers, corms, plants
  • Fish emulsion
  • Chinese water chestnut

How to do it

Step 1 Plant

Start water chestnuts in spring. Put 2-3 inches of soil in an 18-inch container that is at least 6 inches deep. Set the corms 1-2 inches apart. Cover with 1-2 inches of soil. Gently firm the soil. For a pond planting, cover with a layer of pea gravel.

Step 2 Water

Pour water over the planting to fill the container. Always keep the water level at least 1 inch above the soil. (In a pond or bog, submerge the container so that 4-6 inches of water are above the rim.) Place the plants in full sun. Fertilize every 3 weeks with fish emulsion.

Step 3 Harvest

Water chestnuts mature in about 6 months. When the foliage turns brown, lift the plants out of the soil. Wash off the soil and rub the foliage off the chestnuts.

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