Nearly everyone that has spent anytime in a garden has grown a Nasturtium. And today’s foodies, salad lovers, and veg eaters know the tangy, peppery taste of the seeds, leaves and flowers are one of the best in the edibles category, likewise most gardeners know they are one of the best pest repellent varieties to be had.
A native of Mexico they are one of our favorites. Flowers are full faced and showy with a long spur attached behind the bloom. Colors are generally from the red through orange to the bright yellow spectrum.
Growing Nasturtiums is very easy. They love loose dry, sandy soil with very little fertilizers. They tend not to flower as well with enriched soil.
From seed they will take 7 – 14 days to germinate, direct sow (8 to 12 inches apart) or set out after all signs of frost are gone and do not cover the seeds , they need light to germinate. (I cover mine with a opaque white plastic cup for germination, as well as many other plants) The vining varieties can be tied up, but they have no means of attachment. They are prolific seed producers and will rarely be the same color of the parent bloom. The seeds resemble small hazelnuts.
Nasturtium is an excellent companion for many plants. It is a companion to radishes, cabbage family plants (cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli and mustards), deterring aphids, squash bugs, and striped pumpkin beetles, and improving growth and flavor. Plant as a barrier around tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, and under fruit trees. Deters wooly aphids, whiteflies, cucumber beetles and other pests of the cucurbit family. Great trap crop for aphids (in particular the black aphids) which it does attract, especially the yellow flowering varieties. Keeping that in mind there is no reason not to set potted nasturtiums among your garden beds. It has been the practice of some fruit growers that planting nasturtiums every year in the root zone of fruit trees allow the trees to take up the pungent odor of the plants and repel bugs. Studies say it is among the best at attracting predatory insects. It has no taste effect on the fruit. A nice variety to grow is Alaska which has attractive green and white variegated leaves.
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Peace and Prosperity
Rich @ NY Homesteader