Cress (Lepidium sativum) is probably the first edible crop that most of us ever grow. A popular primary school activity -usually involving decorating an eggshell and growing the microgreens to look like hair, is probably everyone’s first introduction to growing your own food.
For this reason, I believe that cress is often overlooked as a serious option for the gardener, which is a shame because it’s easiness is the very reason it should be growing on every kitchen windowsill.
Reasons to grow Cress:
- Cress can be grown all year round on a windowsill.
- It germinates quickly and your crop can be eaten in as little as 7-14 days.
- No soil is necessary, as it can be grown on cotton wool or kitchen paper.
- You can grow it in small or large batches.
- Seeds are extremely inexpensive.
- The microgreens are nutritious and contain elements of Vitamins C, A & K.
- Cress can be added to salads, soups, and sandwiches and it goes great with egg dishes.
How to grow Cress:
I prefer to grow my cress in small batches, with successive sowings every 5-7 days or so. This means I have various crops ongoing at once in different stages of growth so that I have a steady supply.
My chosen method is to soak a small amount of cotton wool in an egg cup, before scattering the seeds evenly over the wool. I then place this egg cup on the kitchen windowsill and check daily to keep the cotton wool moist.
Cress needs very little care apart from this. Once it has reached about 7-8 cm of growth it is ready to harvest. Simply snip off your crop with scissors and wash them before use.
The cotton wool can then be composted and the process can start again with a new sowing of seeds.