Days to Germination: 3-5 days
Germination Temperature: 45°-85°F
A snap to grow in almost any soil, Cress is vitamin rich and a lovely addition to soups and salads. Sow Cress seed as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, every 8 to 10 days, in rows spaced one foot apart for a continuous harvest. For larger plants, thin seedlings to 4" to 8" apart. If you plan to harvest Cress in the “cut and come again” method, you don’t need to thin out the seedlings. Cress can tolerate a bit of shade in the garden and tastes best if grown in moderately fertile, moist soil. Try starting some Cress indoors in a sunny, well-ventilated area in flats for very early spring salads. Watercress loves wet soil and is traditionally grown next to streams. To replicate these conditions, use a 4" high pot with a deep saucer and keep the saucer filled with water at all times.
Success with Cress
The secret to growing good Cress is vigilance. It is one crop you don't want to let sneak by you. Harvest it when it is just big enough to pick; don't let it get too large or too strongly flavored. Succession plantings are a must, so that you always have some new Cress coming along. Cool weather is kindest to Watercress and a winter greenhouse is almost as good as a stream bed for growing it. It is easy to keep the soil moist when the sun is low in the sky and little water evaporates.