Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums

Nasturtium, also known as Tropaeolum majus, is one of the fastest and most straightforward plants to grow, creating masses of clearly beautiful flowers throughout the summer and often into autumn. They are ideal for getting children involved in growing things, too, because of the display that they create. 

The flowers and the leaves of this plant are edible and can be consumed. They have a pleasant peppery taste and are great on salads. To keep them fresh to add to your salads at the last minute, stand them in water (as you would do with cut flowers). The leaves contain high amounts of Vitamin C. The flowers have an abundance of vitamins too. Many people swear by the use of tea from nasturtium leaves as a preventative for colds etc. you can even use them as a disinfectant if you cut a cut or scrape. Grind up the leaves, stir them in water and strain, using the infused water.

You can also use them in sauces, dips, etc. Go to Yummly for some great recipes using this plant.

Nasturtiums come as both climbing plants and bushy plants, which makes them wonderfully versatile. A few of the varieties have appealingly marbled or mottled leaves. Nasturtiums look astounding as well as the blossoms, leaves, and seeds are edible as well. 

Honeybees love the vivid nasturtium blossoms, and both caterpillars and little white butterflies munch their way through the leaves. As they are annuals, nasturtiums complete their life cycle in one season.

Sowing Nasturtiums

Nasturtium can be grown outdoors and indoors. Outdoor sowing is also called “direct planting,” this method is once used as opposed to starting them off inside. The seeds don’t need a great deal of pampering, but seedlings raised inside may experience the ill effects of relocation shock. In addition, they do not take well to being transplanted.

In my view, they are so easy to grow that you can plant them right where you need them to be and never need to relocate. Then, like most other plants, wait until the risk of frost has passed. 

Plant nasturtium seeds an inch down and around 10 inches between them. 

You can plant them closer together and move them later once the seedlings have produced a few leaves. Concerning soil, nasturtiums are not fastidious and will flourish even in soil that is not fertile, so you do not need to fertilise the ground before you sow the seeds. As long as they are given water routinely, they will be fine. Careful though. They don’t like soggy soils, and they are tolerant of drought.

TIP: To help them germinate, I would soak the seeds in warm water for 12 hours.

When you are growing nasturtiums in containers, start with a 3″ pot. Put two seeds in each pot and help them to germinate in a well-lit area, such as a window that is south facing. It takes around ten or twelve days for nasturtiums to begin to grow. When the seedlings have produced a couple of sets of leaves, pluck out the more fragile seedling, leaving one for every pot. Larger containers can take two or three plants to provide a mass of colour.

Growing Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are an ideal plant to provide a dash of colour all around the garden, whether it is in the border or from hanging baskets and containers. They take up quite a bit of room as they grow, so we use them as colour for the garden and pick them when we want to put them in salads.

From time to time, pinch out the runners. This encourages more bushy plants, with more flowers.

Harvesting Nasturtiums

Leaves and flowers can be gathered fresh whenever you want to use some. Seedpods ought to be gathered before seeds have had an opportunity to develop fully. Clip off leaves, flowers, and seed pods with scissors to try not to harm the plant. On the off chance that the seedpods have developed, you can save the nasturtium’s chick-pea–sized seeds and replant them in the spring. Allow the seeds to dry out on the plant.

The ripe seeds dry quickly; the unripe seeds will take longer. Don’t be tempted to store them until they are all completely dry. They will develop the seedpods when the flowers fade. Gather them up, brush off the dirt, dry them, and store them in a paper envelope in a cool dark area of your shed or garage. you can keep the leaves in your fridge for a few days – but why do you need to if you can pick them fresh?

If you want a handy supply of the flowers in your home, mix them up with other flowers in a vase then pick them off as you want.

Nasturtiums for Hens

Do you keep chickens? This plant is an excellent food source for them.

They act as a de-wormer

They repel annoying insects

They help increase egg-laying

They possess antiseptic and antibiotic properties for overall health

They are believed to help calm nervous or depressed hens

The leaves, seeds and flowers make excellent foraging for your hens

nasturtium

Common Problems

Common problems associated with the Nasturtium plant are aphids, caterpillars, flea beetles, slugs, and whiteflies. Use pesticides to deal with these problems and make sure that your plant grows healthy. 

Many gardeners think of nasturtiums as natural pest control. The way to do it is easy – plant nasturtiums away from your crops, and the aphids etc. will migrate over to them, leaving your brassicas alone. Yellow nasturtiums are really attractive to aphids, so gardeners use them to draw the insects away from their prize roses.

nasturtium

Conversely, these plants attract beneficial insects to your plot. These insects, such as hoverflies, will eat the aphids.

The other way to use nasturtiums is for companion planting for tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines and squashes. They can also act as a living mulch.

Isn’t nature wonderful?

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07/01/2021 | Herbs | 0 Comments

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