Planting the best cress seeds
- Thrives in bright, sunny growing areas
- Fast growing and excellent for container gardens
- Offers a distinctly spicy, peppery, and pungent flavor
- One of the oldest leafy greens humans have eaten
Growing cress couldn't be easier
Quite possibly the easiest herb to grow, direct sow cress seeds outdoors between one and two weeks before the average last frost, or grow them on a sunny windowsill for a great source of fresh greens at any time of year! You may also choose to start your seeds indoors, two to four weeks before the last frost and then transplant them outdoors after the threat of frost has passed. Cress grows well in loose soil and a shady location, staying consistently moist. Cress prefers soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
Sow seeds about 1/4 inch deep, thickly in wide rows spaced approximately 18 to 24 inches apart. Spray seedlings daily to keep moist and water generously after seeds sprout to ensure the roots do not dry out.
From cress seedling to harvesting for salads
Once your seedlings are about an inch or two tall, thin them out so they are six inches apart from each other. You can begin adding cress to salads and sandwiches just weeks after germination, as baby leaves can be harvested as soon as the true leaves appear, when they are about three to four inches tall. You may choose to cut the plants back to about 1/4 inch to promote quick regrowth for continuous harvest.
A great seed to introduce your children to gardening, as they will see young seedlings emerge after only five to fifteen days! Harvest as a microgreen and enjoy its mild peppery flavor. Continue to plant every 10 days (sow seeds thickly; cress is not bothered by overcrowding) for a succession of wonderful greens at a time when there is less available to harvest in the garden.
To harvest, cut the stalks of the plant off at the base and store in your refrigerator for up to one week.
Companion plants to grow with cress
Companion plants for cress include bunching onions, chives, peppermint, and spearmint! Garden cress is known for being used on sandwiches, in salads and soups, and as baby greens. Grow your own cress in your kitchen garden to expand your culinary experience.
For more information about planting, growing, and caring for cress seed, see the Cress Seeds Planting Guide.