Garden cress (Lepidium sativum), also known as pepper-grass for its piquant flavor, is an Asian green in the cabbage family. The plant’s leaves have two functions in the kitchen. As an herb, it frequently spices spreads and salads. Less often, garden cress appears in hot dishes as an addition to soups and eggs. This annual is seed propagated, germinating quickly and reaching maturity as soon as one week after sowing.
Growing cress is easy and is a great means for having fresh salad greens at your fingertips any time of the year. The type of cress required here is salad cress.
Till the ground to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Spread 5 inches of compost or well-rotted manure over the turned soil. Broadcast 1 to 2 lbs. of 16-16-8 fertilizer per 100 square feet on the same area. Mix the nutrients with the soil with a shovel. Rake the surface to smooth it out for planting.
Throw the garden cress seeds in random directions over the bed you prepared. Cover them with a 1/4-inch layer of topsoil. After germination, thin the seedlings to one foot apart.
Irrigate the seed bed at planting and keep the ground moist through germination. Water the developing plants before the soil surface dries.
Pull weeds that sprout near the plants. Build a 2-inch mulch layer with straw or shredded newspaper, for example, around the base of the plants to slow water evaporation and suppress weeds.
Harvest garden cress when the plant's leaves grow 2 inches long, one to three weeks after you sow the seeds. Pull the entire plant or pick the oldest leaves. Retaining the youngest foliage keeps the plant growing.