Cress Microgreens

How to Grow Cress With or Without Soil

Cress (Lepidium Sativum) is one of the most nutritious microgreens that you can grow. It contains a high amount of vitamins A, C and K and a host of minerals. You’ll be surprised that cress has even more vitamin C than oranges. Just 30 grams of garden cress provides you with over 30 times the daily value of vitamin C.

Want to boost your immune system this winter? Try growing cress. Not only is it a nutritional powerhouse, but it is fast and easy to grow – and eating freshly harvested cress means that you get the maximum goodness from these greens.

In this article, you’ll learn how to grow cress with the tray or saucer method. You can grow it using a soil medium or on moist paper towels.   


  • 1 – 2 tbsp of cress seeds.
  • Small seedling tray or saucer. 
  • Paper towels. 
  • Optional: Coir peat and good quality potting mix (if you would prefer to grow cress with soil instead of paper towels).


Sprouting Gelatinous Seeds

Seeds like chia, flax, psyllium and cress are gelatinous seeds, which means that when they are soaked, they will have a jelly-like and sticky coating. These seeds have to be sprouted differently than most sprouting seeds, like alfalfa, broccoli, radish or kale. For a start, the gelatinous seed can’t be sprouted in a sprouting jar.

Steve Meyerowitz (Sproutman) recommended that these seeds should be sprouted on top of a hemp sprouting bag. Put a sprouting bag on top of a tray or plate, sprinkle the seeds on top of the bag, and spray with a mist bottle. Over the next 2-3 days, spray as necessary to ensure that your seeds and bag don’t dry out.  

The most common method of sprouting cress is to use a flat tray or saucer, with paper towels or a fine layer of soil.

Paper towel method
  • Place a few layers of moist paper towels on a small flat tray or saucer.
  • Sprinkle your seeds over the surface of the paper towels. Do not soak seeds. 
  • Use a spray mist bottle to water your seeds.
  • Spray as necessary to ensure that your seeds are kept moist. Do not over water as this may lead to mould and water logged seeds.
  • Grow your sprouts for 4-6 days.
  • Harvest between 2-4 cm.
Soil method
  • Put a 3-4 cm layer of good quality potting mix in your tray or saucer. Coir peat can be mixed in with your potting mix. Not only is it an economical growing medium for cress, but it is a reliable medium for growing other microgreens including wheatgrass, barley grass and snowpeas. 
  • Water your soil with a spray mist bottle.
  • Sprinkle your seeds evenly over the surface.
  • Water your seeds with the spray mister.
  • Cover your tray with another tray or a layer of paper. This will ensure that your seeds can germinate in a dark environment.
  • Keep your microgreens in a well-ventilated, warm room (out of direct sunlight) for 2 days. 
  • Ensure that your seeds and soil are kept moist, but not damp or soggy. Water twice daily with a water mister/sprayer.  
  • Expose to sunlight. Water twice daily.
  • Harvest in 4-6 days. 

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