Garden cress

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Garden cress (Lepidium sativum) is very easy to grow and can be harvested just two weeks after sowing. The one-year cultivated plant belongs to the family of the cruciferous plants (Brassicaceae) and is originally from the Middle East. Garden cress is an undemanding plant that grows between 30 and 50 centimeters tall. It grows from a spindle-shaped root. The stems are bare, bluish green and branched above. They are feathered, pale green, alternate leaves. From June to August, the tiny white flowers appear. The seedlings contain a lot of vitamin C, carotene and mustard oil glycosides, which are responsible for the spicy-hot taste. Garden cress is a popular culinary spice that can be cut well on bread, in salads, soups and quark. It is also an ingredient in the Frankfurt Green Sauce.
In addition to sowing outdoors, the garden cress can also be grown in the greenhouse and as germ sprouts in special glasses on the windowsill.

Location and ground

The frugal watercress thrives well on humus rich, loose and moist soils in sunny to partially shaded locations.

Sowing and planting

Cress germinates at a soil temperature of six degrees Celsius within two days and grows very quickly at 15 to 20 degrees Celsius. It can be cultivated both in the greenhouse and on the windowsill. In the field from March you can sow the cress either wide-brimmed or in rows with a distance of ten centimeters. If you want to harvest continuously, sow in several subsequent sentences until the end of September. For early seed one chooses a sunny place with moist soil, from May one sows also bullet-proof varieties like 'Olympus' better in partial shade. Since cress is a light germ, you should spread the seeds relatively flat and only lightly cover with soil or thinly sift with sifted compost or sand. Thus, the grains are not washed away during the pouring, dry out less quickly and the seedlings rid themselves of the hard seed coat when piercing the cover layer itself. In addition, it is possible to sow on the windowsill in pots, egg cartons or other small cultivation shells with slightly sandy herbal soil. Here, too, regular follow-up seed crops up. In winter, the crop can also be grown well in the greenhouse.

You can also pull cress sprouts completely without soil: The seeds germinate particularly evenly if you water the fawn grains for several hours before sowing. In addition, so no seed shells stick to the cotyledons: Put one to two tablespoons of cress seeds in a glass and add so much cold water that they are about two fingers high covered. Leave the jar in a cool, bright place for a few hours until a translucent layer of mucus has formed around each grain. The swollen seeds are then spread in a dish designed with kitchen or filter paper or on the special "cress hedgehog" as a thin layer and moistened at least twice a day with a spray bottle.


The uncomplicated garden cress requires no special care or fertilizer except a regular watering.

Harvest and storage

If you have sown the cress in pods, you can harvest the seedlings eight to ten days later. In any case, it is important to cut the seedlings before flowering, otherwise they lose their flavors. When planting in the bed, it takes about two to three weeks until the cress has grown hand-grown. You should cut the feathery leaflets with a sharp knife or scissors.
Cress tastes particularly good as a bread covering, in salads, in quark, in egg dishes and in the Frankfurt green sauce. It should be consumed quickly, as the leaves wither quickly.

Cress in a germ husk

Cress grows very hygienically in pots

Mixed culture and crop rotation

As neighbors are radishes, although due to the short culture time of the cress no special mixed culture is necessary. However, you should not sow cress in beds where cruciferous vegetables such as rocket, radishes or cabbage have previously been.


In the trade there are both small-leaved varieties (like the 'simple'), varieties with curly leaves (Lepidium sativum var. Crispum), varieties with broad leaves (Lepidium sativum var. Latifolium, for example the variety 'Großblättrige') and the golden yellow, "English" cress.

Diseases and pests

Ground fleas can cause total loss of young cress seedlings. If the small beetles are common in your garden, you should better grow cress in planters on the balcony or under 0.8 mm mesh protection mesh.

Video Board: Growing Microgreens - How to Grow Garden Cress and Arugula Microgreens.

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