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Creasy greens, also known as Upland Cress, Early Winter Cress, or Belle Isle Cress, are prized in Southern Appalachia as one of the first edible plants to emerge in spring. These greens are loaded with vitamin C and other vitamins, and have historically played an important role in the diets of many people with little access to fresh vegetables in winter. “Creasies” have a spicy kick similar to watercress, but they are easier to grow since they will thrive just about anywhere you throw down the seeds, even in poor soil. Though the plant is native to Europe, it has easily naturalized in the Southeastern US, and will do the same in your garden if you allow it to go to seed. Plants grow 4-6" tall.
It’s best to direct sow Upland Creasy Greens in early fall, though they can also be sown as soon as the ground thaws in late winter or early spring. Broadcast the seeds and rake them in lightly. Greens will be ready to harvest in 20-50 days depending on the weather conditions. 1 gram packet contains approximately 645 seeds.
|spring and fall
|Direct Seed Spacing
|Soil Temp. Range
|Days to Sprout
|1-2", or broadcast
|Days to Harvest
|full sun-part shade
Creasy greens should direct sown in early fall, or in late winter as soon as the ground thaws and is workable. Broadcast in a location with full sun or part shade. They are very tolerant of poor soils, but will appreciate well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. Creasies are also very frost-tolerant, and readily self-sow if some plants are allowed to go to seed, making them as close to a no-maintenance crop as you can get! Just keep the weeds at bay, and your patch of creasy greens should keep going for years to come. Harvest using the cut-and-come again method, cutting the leaves off near the base of the plant but leaving the growth tip intact, and you can often get more than one harvest from the same plants in a season.
Creasy greens (Barbarea verna) are a biennial, and will flower in spring after being exposed to cold winter weather. The flowers and seed pods are very similar to those of mustard or arugula. Harvest the pods as soon as they turn brown. Simply pop the pods open with your fingers and collect the seeds in a container, or thresh and winnow by crushing the dry pods and then pouring the seeds and chaff from one container to another in front of a box fan set on low. Once the seeds are completely dry, seal them in an airtight container and store them in a cool, dark, and dry location.