Cress was first cultivated thousands of years ago in the Middle East, according to Cornell University, but is now grown throughout North America. Chefs commonly use it as a peppery herb in salads and cooked entrees. The herb is typically started via seed. Be prepared for a fast harvest, with the herb being ready for picking within just a few weeks of sowing the seeds.
Choose a garden site. Garden cress thrives best in full sun to partial shade, according to Cornell University.
Prepare the garden site. Utah State University recommends working the soil to a depth of approximately 8 inches. Stir in 6 inches of compost--cress loves soil that's rich in organic matter--and fertilize at a rate of 1 lb. of 16-16-8 fertilizer for every 50 square feet of soil.
Sprinkle the cress seeds on the soil surface in a row. If you are growing more than one row, Utah State University suggests spacing the rows apart by approximately 4 inches. Rake the area to cover the seeds with a thin, 1/4-inch layer of dirt.
Water the planting site twice daily to keep the surface dirt moist. The seeds will typically germinate within two to seven days.
Thin the seedlings once they're a couple inches tall so that each cress plant is separated by 8 inches.