Hello guys, today I am here with my very first ‘how to grow’ of my kitchen garden series. Today I am showing you how to grow Nasturtiums. Nasturtiums are a completely edible flower, with a fresh, peppery flavour. They are also medicinal and can be a very important edition to your kitchen garden. As they not only attract beneficial insects to your garden, but also draw away pests from eating your precious vegetables.
They are a super choice if wanting to get your children into gardening, as they are super easy to grow and generally require minimal care. Nasturtiums are annuals, meaning that they will need to be re-planted each year. Unlike perennials that grow back each spring. Nasturtiums belong to the Tropaeolum genus of the Brassicaceae (cabbage) family, and numerous popular garden cultivars are available, these include; dwarf, bush, climbing, and trailing varieties.
What they need:
Nasturtiums require minimal effort and no feeding is required and they thrive best in poor soil. As when planted in rich, well fed soil they will only grow an abundance of leaves and minimal to no flowers. Of course if you want a great ground cover, then this is absolutely fine. For best results, grow in full sun to get an abundance of flowers. If you have an area where you have tried and failed to grow anything, this will more than likely be the best spot to plant your nasturtiums.
They are pretty disease tolerant, although can get a powdery mildew if too waterlogged. So it’s best to plant them somewhere that has free draining soil. Although they can withstand most weather, they are not frost resistant and can become scorched if in too much direct heat. They can be planted directly into outside soil once the chance of frost has passed. But if you are wanting to get ahead like me, you can plant them earlier under cover.
How to plant:
Seeds are of a generous size and can be easily spaced apart, unlike finer seeds. Plant them directly into the ground once the chance of frost has passed (usually March) or under cover 4-6 weeks prior. From personal experience, nasturtiums sprout so quickly that I will skip this step next year. I can’t quite keep up with the speed of growth and am now caught in a catch 22 situation. Seeds need to be planted a good half an inch deep, don’t be tempted to gently cover with soil as they need the dark to germinate. Ensure that seeds are kept moist during the germination process and water if the weather is dry.
Nasturtiums require little to no after care once established, they will survive drought and high temperatures. They don’t require any fertiliser and if they become to ‘lanky’, simply trim them back and they will readily produce new growth. If potting in a container, they will need trimming to keep them neat and well, contained. They will self seed, so near the end of the growing season, collect the seed pods. Then keep them in an envelope, in a cool dark place ready to be planted next year.