- Germination Days: 7 - 14
- Hardiness Zone:6-9 (Annual)
- Planting Depth:1/2"
- Plant Spacing:8”
- Growth Habit:Upright
- Soil Preference:Moist and rich , 6.0 – 6.7 pH
- Temp Preference:Cool
- Light Preference:Full sun to partial shade
- Days to Maturity:30
- Pests/diseases:Cress has no serious pest / disease problems.
Upland cress (Barbarea verna), also known as land cress or garden cress, is a biennial herb that is indigenous to Europe, Asia and Ethiopia where it has been a ideal salad plant since the 16th century. The flower stalks of this herb-like plant grows to about 12 inches to 24 inches in height. The leaves are lobed and glossy, having a delightfully zesty, spicy flavor.
This is one of the most intensely flavorful salad greens we know of. Very cold hardy, does very well in a winter cold frame or hoop house. Does not need to be in water to grow, grow as you would other greens. Popular at London’s Borough Market.
Garden cress is quite simpler to cultivate. In addition, it is also possible to grow garden cress indoors for use during the winter. The sprouts, leaves as well as the young buds are edible.
A mature Garden Cress plant produces white flowers and small seed pod, surprisingly all parts of garden cress are edible - leaves, stems, and seeds.
Garden Cress plants are heaped with nutrients including iron, folate, Vitamin C, A, E, fiber and protein and include these in your daily diet to enjoy a broad spectrum of health benefits.
Garden cress is quite simpler to cultivate. In addition, it is also possible to grow garden cress indoors for use during the winter. The sprouts, leaves as well as the young buds are edible. A mature Garden Cress plant produces white flowers and small seed pod, surprisingly all parts of garden cress are edible - leaves, stems, and seeds.
There are several types of cress:
- Garden cress (Lepidium sativum), also called broadleaf cress, has flat, bright green leaves to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. Garden cress, a biennial, is also called peppergrass, pepper cress, Cress- upland and mustard cress.
- Curly cress (Barbarea vernapraecox), also called cresson, early winter cress, or Upland cress, has finely divided leaves resembling parsley or chervil atop thin, branching stems. Curly cress is dark green and is also called curled cress, curlicress, and fine curled cress, moss curled cress, and extra-curled cress. Curly cress is a biennial that thrives in damp soil.
- Watercress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum) is a trailing annual usually grown in water. Grow watercress indoors in pot set in a tray of water or along the side of a stream or watercourse. Watercress is an annual which grows in soil in gently running water.
- Cresses grow easily from seed and also can be propagated from stem-pieces or cuttings. Cress will sprout on water-soaked paper towels.
- Cresses are cool-weather annuals. Sow cress in the garden early in spring, as early as 4 or 6 before the last frost, or grow cress indoors year round. Cress will germinate in about 14 days at 45°F.
- Garden cress is quick growing from seed; it will be ready for harvest 15 to 20 days after sowing. Curly cress requires 40 to 50 days to reach maturity but harvest can begin 15 days after sowing. Watercress requires 55 to 70 days to reach maturity but runner tips can be pinched off for use 15 to 20 days after sowing. Sow cress every 10 days for a continuous harvest through midsummer. Cress can become pungent and inedible in hot weather. Plant cress in late summer for an autumn and winter harvest.
- Plant cress in shade or semi shade. Grow garden cress and curly cress in moist but well-drained sandy loam. Grow watercress in a container of compost-rich, sandy soil submerged in running water. Cress prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
- Cress requires even moisture. Do not let roots dry out. Grow watercress in gently running water. Grow cress in soil rich in aged compost.
- Bunching onions, chives, peppermint, spearmint, and wintergreen are few companion plants.
- Keep soil weed free. Avoid growing cress in direct sun. Pinch cress back to promote new foliage.
- Garden cress and curly can be grown in containers, pots and boxes. Sow seeds thickly; cress is not bothered by overcrowding. Garden cress can be grown indoors on a windowsill. Use a container with good bottom drainage. Keep the soil moist.
Pests / Diseases
Pests: Cress has no serious pest problems.
Diseases: Cress has no serious disease problems.
Cut or pinch out cress tips as needed, cut-and-come-again. Begin cutting plants when they reach 3 to 4 inches tall. Plants cut back to about 1/2 inch will regrow quickly. Cress is most tender at the early seed-leaf stage; harvest cress well before it matures. Sprouts can also be used fresh.