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How to grow cress in a paper towel

Cress is a tasty and nutritious salad crop, rich in vitamin C. Growing cress in a paper towel, or on a similar surface, is a popular science experiment in primary schools. Simple to set up, it is an activity with fast results that appeals to children. Not only that, but the children get to eat the results of their experiment.

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  1. Wet two or three paper towels under the tap. Squeeze out the excess water. Lay the paper towels flat in a shallow container, such as a seed tray or dish.

  2. Sprinkle the cress seeds over the damp paper towels at a rate of about 10 or more seeds per 25 mm square. Place the seed tray on a windowsill. Wait patiently!

  3. Spray the seeds lightly with water using a spray mister every day. Watch the seeds carefully and you should observe signs of sprouting in approximately two to three days, according to healwithfood.org.

  4. Cut off some of the cress seedlings after about a fortnight, by which time they should be a healthy green colour, growing in close formation and about 50 mm or more in height. Add these to a salad or sandwich, or just eat them as they are.

  5. Continue misting your cress seedlings after cropping them and they should regrow again in about a fortnight.

  6. Warning

    Cress has a peppery taste which will not suit all palates.

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Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Cress seeds
  • Seed tray or similar
  • Spray mister

About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.

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