Mustard and Cress
This is a useful, easy-to-grow salad crop which may be grown throughout the
year provided that a temperature of 50-60°F (10-16°C) is given. Cress takes a little longer to germinate than mustard
so cress seeds must be sown in a separate
container three days earlier than mustard in order to be able to gather the two
together. Bulb bowls or seed trays should be filled with fine, sandy soil or with bulb fibre. Water well, using a very
fine rose on the can, and then sprinkle the seeds evenly and reasonably thinly on to the moist surface. Firm the seeds into the soil or fibre with a block of wood. No covering of soil, fibre or sand is necessary. Stand the containers in a dark place or cover the pots or trays with pieces of wood until the seeds germinate. Water carefully if necessary. After germination, allow full light. Both mustard and cress grown indoors are ready for use within two to three weeks of sowing. Cut the 7cm (3in) high seedlings with scissors. For successional crops, sow weekly between October and April.
For the first crops out of doors, sow on an open, south-facing site in early April. After forking the soil lightly, firm it well and then rake so that the soil is very fine indeed. Sow as for under glass. Early sowings may be damaged by heavy rain which beats the tender seedlings to the ground. This may be prevented by providing glass protection; sowings may also be made earlier in the cold frame in soil similar to that recommended for plants grown in bowls or seed trays, or under cloches. For sowings made between late May and September, choose a north-facing border.