The Garden Cress

Garden cress (Lepidium sativum) is native to the Middle East. Both its leaves and seeds are used in cooking and thanks to its tangy flavor, it was nicknamed "Poor man's pepper" in ancient times.

General information
Also called "Pepper grass" or "Pepperwort", it is an annual herbaceous plant with very small leaves and an acrid taste. Highly appreciated for its slightly peppery flavor, it can be eaten raw as well as cooked.

Hardy No
Watering High
Exposure Dark Place
Lifespan Annual

The only method to propagate garden cress is sowing. In rows or by broadcast sowing, it can be sown from March to September outdoors, and the rest of the year indoors. For an early sowing, before mid-May, it is better to protect it by a tunnel to mitigate the risks of frost. It is better to sow in place and then thin out to leave only the most vigorous plants every 15 cm or so. By staggering plantings of crops, it is then possible to harvest garden cress a good part of the year. In addition, it offers several regrowths over the year but for this only the leaves must be cut, and absolutely not the heart.

Location / Exposure
The exposure depends on the season. In the spring, it feels good in a semi-shady location, in summer in the shade, but in autumn it needs to be in full sun. The soil should be rich, light, well-drained, and moist.

It is a herb that does not require a lot of care but which likes water a lot. Therefore, it must be watering regularly so that the soil does never dry.

This condimentary plant grow really quickly: in just one month it matures. Thus, the harvest can already begin about 1 month after sowing, so in the spring if sowing was early in the year. Harvest usually takes place from April to November, but indoors it can be done all year round. It is good to know that garden cress can also be consumed in sprouts or young shoots.

This aromatic herb is not resistant to frost. In autumn, it has to go inside.