Grow Your Own Individual Cress Portions

Cress, or micro greens if you're being fancy, are a great way to spice up a sandwich or salad. From the traditional egg and cress or my new favourite of rocket cress on a cheese sandwich, cress can pack a real punch. On top of that micro greens are terribly easy to grow. Spread them thickly on wet cotton wool, keep moist, and within a couple of days the sprouts are ready to harvest.

Problem is I used to grow cress in giant portions, covering a plate with cotton wool and growing a veritable field of the stuff. It always ended up with so much it would go limp and sad before all was eaten.

Which is why I am now growing my cress on cotton pads. It is the perfect size for a generous portion and if you grow different kinds of cress it looks damn decorative as well. Each time you harvest one pad you can sow another one and soon you will have a constant supply different kinds of cress.

I personally use double pads to prevent them from drying out too quickly and it gives the roots a little more room.  Because the pads have a less open structure than regular cotton wool it works best with smaller seeds with strong roots. Mustard seeds for instance have the tendency to not properly root in the pads, though if you give them some time they usually end up fine.

I'm currently growing regular cress, rocket cress, spring onion, dill, fennel and mustard. The seeds you use for cress are actually the same you would use in your veg garden. So you can buy rocket cress seeds and also use it to sow some proper rocket in the ground. Packets of seeds sold for cress are often better value because you get a lot more seed. But if you can't find many specialty cress seeds, just try some regular seed and see whether the micro greens taste good. Carrot might surprise you and the radish family will get you some welcome heat while beet cress looks fantastic as a bright red decoration.

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