You often find watercress as leaves to be mixed in salads. They are super low in calories, but jampacked with nutrients. It makes them very popular both as a stand-alone snack or as an addition to meals.
What are cress microgreens?
Watercress is part of the Brassicaceae family along with kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. These microgreens hold a more piquant flavor, similar to mustard and radish.
|Growing period||10-12 days|
|Flavor||Peppery, slightly spicy flavor|
Watercress has been around for a long time, and it was first commercially cultivated in 1808 in the UK. Today it’s grown in many parts of the world and used as a culinary addition with its delicious and peppery flavor.
In supermarkets, watercress is typically being sold in sealed plastic bags with added moisture. As they thrive in water, they are unsuitable for distribution in dried form. So they will not hold for long after harvest.
General Nutrition & Benefits
Watercress is very high in antioxidants, and as well packed with vitamins such as A, C, and K. It’s also rich in calcium and manganese. It’s considered to be one of the more nutrient-dense food compared to other microgreens. The reason is that they are very low in calories and hold a very high amount of nutrients.
RELATED: The Most Nutritious Microgreens to Grow and Eat
How to Grow Cress Microgreens
Watercress is easy to grow and ready to be harvested already after 10-12 days. The seeds are small, and they are mucilaginous, same as chia seeds. It means that they create a jelly substance as they swell in water, producing a gel-like mass.
|Growing timeline (estimated)|
|Preferred medium||Soil / Hydroponic|
|Avg. seed weight (10/20 tray)||15 grams|
|Germination period (blackout)||Day 1-3|
|Growth time (sunlight)||Day 4-9|
You don’t have to presoak the seeds, but you should keep them well moist. They are best planted in soilless mediums such as coconut coir. Consider watering your watercress twice a day, in the morning and evening. You can both give them mist from above and water from underneath your tray.
The results are a crop of wonderful nutritious microgreens!
Watercress can be eaten raw or cooked. Mix cress with your salad to get a more peppery taste. It’s as well great to mix in with eggs and mayonnaise and have in your baguette.
If we grow broccoli or cress in water-only do we need to add worm castings to the water? What is a natural addition to the water for nutrients? Do we add around day 5? We do NOT want to have to use any substrate at all and see some people grow on paper towels (bleached?!)!
When we grow microgreens, we do not use any additional nutrients. We mainly use coconut coir but at times also grow using a hydroponic mat.
That said, based on what growing medium you use and your indoor conditions, a fertilizer may help, there is absolutely no harm in using it. What fertilizer to use and how to apply it to your microgreens depends, as mentioned, heavily on what growing medium you are using to grow your microgreens. There are many options and to hopefully help you better, we refer you to a post we have written on the topic:
When it comes to timing, the best time to add the fertilizer is when the microgreens have begun to grow roots.
We hope this answer helps you to find your best solution!