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Garden cress (photo courtesy of FoodCollection/Photolibrary)
Garden cress (photo courtesy of FoodCollection/Photolibrary)

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Zones A1-A3, 1-24, H1, H2
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Ample WaterRegular Water
Ample, Moderate

Cress, Garden

Annuals, Vegetables

Garden cress is sometimes called pepper grass because of its peppery taste. It comes in broad- and curly-leafed forms. The broad-leafed form is used most often in soups; both kinds are used in sandwiches and salads. The curly-leafed form can also be used as a garnish.

Easy to grow as long as the weather is cool. Sow seeds as early in spring as possible. Plant in rich, moist soil. Make rows 1 ft. apart; thin plants to 3 in. apart (eat thinnings). Cress matures fast; make successive sowings every 2 weeks up to the middle of May. Where frosts are mild, sow through fall and winter. Try growing garden cress in shallow pots of soil or planting mix in a sunny kitchen window. It sprouts in a few days, can be harvested (with scissors) in 2 to 3 weeks. Or grow it by sprinkling seeds on pads of wet cheesecloth; keep damp until harvest in 2 weeks.

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