Nasturtium

  • Why you should grow it
    • Nasturtiums are a companion plant to most vegetables and herbs
    • They attract beneficial insects like pollinators and repel bad insects with its peppery smell
    • They sprawl, so they shade the soil prevent weeds from coming up and reducing evaporation in the soil, making your plants stronger
    • Great to fill in gaps in your garden, they will grow to fill the space
    • Flowers and leaves are edible, they are a bit peppery and the flowers add great colour to any dish, especially salads!

  • How to start seeds
    • Start indoors in the early spring or plant directly in April
    • If you’re direct sowing, keep the soil very moist and cool until you see seedlings emerge
    • They have larger seeds so plant a little deeper and in a bigger pot if you’re starting indoors
    • Keep seedlings on hand to pop into unexpected gaps in the garden
  • Tips for growth
    • They do need a bit of space as they sprawl
    • Can sprawl onto the path or up a trellis
    • They like poor soil, so don’t add to much compost to where you want to plant them
    • Like a good amount of sun, they’ll have more foliage than flowers if they are not getting enough sun
    • Keep well-watered during the heat of summer, they are not very drought tolerant as they have large leaves

 

  • Harvesting
    • Harvest the leaves throughout the season
    • Leave the flowers on for a little while so that pollinators can visit, then harvest
    • Use a knife to get a clean cut
    • They have a peppery or spicey flavour, a few go a long way

 

  • Saving Seeds
    • Seeds are large, about a chickpea size
    • They fall off easily, so look under the leaves, the seeds might be sitting on the soil
    • Try to let them fall off naturally, they’ll have more sugar or food stored and last longer in storage
    • Dry fully until they are a brown wrinkled seed
    • Label with plant and year, store in a cool dark place