Land Cress

Land cress, sometimes referred to as American cress, is a great substitute for watercress and can be a delicious addition to salads and since it is hardy, it can make it right through the winter with some protection and will provide healthy and tasty green leaves over a long period.

Growing land cress:

Land cress is a boon to the forest gardener as it provides an excellent ground cover in areas of cool, damp, partial or dappled shade. It is in fact in these conditions that it will perform at its best. It will do well when planted in the shade of trees or taller plants in a mixed cottage-style garden.

Seeds are usually sown between March and August where they are to grow. Plants for overwintering under the protection of a cloche or in a greenhouse or polytunnel can be planted in August or September. For optimum growth, seedlings should be thinned to a spacing of around 10cm apart as soon as they are large enough to handle.

It is imperative that you keep the land cress well watered throughout the growing season, especially when the plants are young and tender and beginning to establish themselves. Spring sown land cress will require more watering than plants started later in the year. Keep an eye on the weather and try to make sure that your watering is consistent.

The plants should be cut on a regular basis while they are young and tender, so as to get the best from your crop. You should make sure that you keep taking because the more you take, the more the plants will be encouraged to continue to grow and this will prolong your harvest and ensure that you have a steady supply of the leaves for a longer period of time.

Why grow land cress in the garden?

Land cress is not only a tasty green for use in salads and other dishes it is also extremely healthy with a great mix of vitamins and other nutrients that are needed for a balanced diet, including iron and calcium.

Land cress is also useful as a ground cover which will protect the soil and help retain moisture under other garden plants or trees. In a layered permaculture approach to gardening, cress is a useful ground layer that can be used to great effect to make the most of the space in your garden.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Barbarea verna