5 reasons to grow nasturtiums + 10 delicious recipes

Nasturtiums are an extremely useful and showy flowering plant that deserves a place in every garden. The common name is Tropaeolum, the only genus in the Tropaeolaceae plant family.

As you will learn in this article, there are many reasons to grow nasturtiums in your garden: they are incredibly useful in the garden itself and for use in the kitchen as well.

Contents

How to grow nasturtiums.

Nasturtiums can be grown indoors in pots or outdoors, where they will grow between March and May. They will bloom from summer to fall.

Nasturtiums are very easy to grow from seed and pose no complications, especially if you are not in a hurry and direct sow as soon as the risk of frost has passed in your area.

If you want them to bloom sooner you can sow the seeds indoors, but to avoid transplant shock it’s best to grow them in biodegradable containers (toilet rolls work well) so so you can take it all into the garden.

The large seeds are easy to handle, making them the perfect way to introduce children to gardening.

Nasturtium seeds will germinate in a sunny location in 10 to 12 days. Remember to harden off plants grown indoors before planting them outdoors.

Where to place nasturtiums.

Nasturtiums prefer a sunny and relatively sheltered location.

Nasturtiums will grow even in poor quality soil, provided it is watered regularly. Try to keep the area around them weed-free to reduce competition and not to over-fertilize, as rich soil can cause plants to produce fewer flowers and more leaves.

Nasturtium care.

These plants are quite hardy, but be sure to water them well during the dry spell. Be careful with watering, especially with plants in pots or planters, which can dry out more quickly. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, but not too dry or too long.

Cutting off faded or faded flowers will encourage the plant to continue blooming longer throughout the growing season. However, as we’ll see later, you may want to pick the flowers (and leaves) for a variety of culinary applications rather than letting them wither.

Reasons to grow nasturtiums in your garden.

Nasturtiums are a showy plant that can bloom profusely. They can add color and aesthetic appeal to your garden. But there are also a number of very helpful reasons why growing these flowers is a good idea.

For example, you can use nasturtiums to:

Attract beneficial insects.

Nasturtiums will attract a variety of beneficial insects to your garden, including bees and other pollinators.

Placing nasturtiums outdoors is one way to help honey bees and other bee species threatened by climate change and human activity.

We need bees to survive on this planet. That is why it is extremely important that we do our part to protect and help them. Of course, having pollinators in your garden will also help you get a good harvest of fruit every year, if you grow your own food.

As a companion plant for your fruits and vegetables.

Not only pollinators will be attracted to nasturtiums. These plants also attract insect species like aphids, weevils and beetles, making nasturtiums a good companion plant in the garden.

This may not immediately seem like a good thing, but since these insects are attracted to nasturtiums, they will leave your fruits, vegetables or other crops alone. Nasturtiums are therefore known as a trap crop.

As a trap crop, they are an excellent choice for keeping pests away from beans, tomatoes or fruit trees.

Another thing to keep in mind is that by attracting prey, nasturtiums are also very good at attracting predatory insects, which will help control pest populations.

To cover the ground.

Group planting is not an exact science, and the many ways plants interact with each other and with garden wildlife are not fully understood. However, it is clear that nasturtiums can help other plants through their relationship with various insect species.

But that’s not the only way nasturtiums can help neighboring plants.

These drought-tolerant plants can also make an excellent ground cover. This can be very beneficial, especially in drier and warmer areas, as it reduces moisture evaporation and helps protect the fragile soil ecosystem. Its thick coverage and quick spread can also help crowd out weeds.

As a ground cover, nasturtiums can also be used to nourish poor soil over time. When used as a kind of green manure, these plants can improve the soil in a given area by adding nutrients when left to decompose in place at the end of the growing season, or chopped and discarded .

For covering unsightly walls or fences.

The fast-growing nasturtium can also be useful for improving the visual appeal of your garden, as it can be used to cover unattractive walls or fences.

It can turn an unattractive and useless part into a beautiful and generous part of the garden.

For his performance.

Many people are surprised to learn that nasturtiums are edible.

These plants not only help other plants in your garden, but can also be an incredibly useful food crop.

As a food crop, these plants can really justify their place in your garden.

The flowers, leaves and buds can be used in a wide range of recipes.

Edible recipes with nasturtium leaves, flowers and seeds.

edible nasturtium flowerImage: geo-grafika – Depositphotos.

Here are some of the best ways to use nasturtiums in your kitchen:

  1. nasturtium salads: One of the easiest and simplest ways to eat nasturtium flowers and leaves, which have a pungent flavor similar to watercress, is in salads. Its spicy taste is perfect when combined with milder lettuce or other leaves, and you can even liven up the salad with a nasturtium vinaigrette.
  2. Nasturtium vinegar and black pepper: Both the flowers and the leaves can also be used to make an infusion of vinegar. White wine vinegar can be used as a base, although you could also consider using a homemade apple cider vinegar for this. This vinegar can be added to many cooked dishes for a touch of pepper, or used to make a vinaigrette to complement a wide range of homemade salads.
  3. sautéed nasturtium: Nasturtium leaves also work well in a number of stir-fry recipes, so you can use them to whip up a sensational meal in no time. Slightly withered, the leaves lose some of their intense watercress flavor and become a much more versatile and palatable green leafy vegetable.
  4. Nasturtium pesto. The leaves can also be used in the same way as basil and other popular herbs to make a slightly less traditional pesto. You can use your pesto in sandwiches, pastas, or to flavor a host of other dishes.
  5. Nasturtium soup. There are also many soup recipes that include nasturtium. The leaves, mixed with other ingredients, can be used for their watercress flavor as the protagonist, or simply added to a mixed vegetable soup as a fragrant herb or as an additional leafy green.
  6. Nasturtium Omelet. Another idea is to add these leaves and flowers to an omelette – or, for example, to any other egg-based dish, such as a quiche or an empanada.
  7. Nasturtium donuts. Like many other garden products, nasturtiums can also be made into delicious donuts.
  8. Nasturtium Dolmades. The leaves can get quite large during the growing season. They can be used in the same way as vine or cabbage leaves, to wrap other ingredients, as in these dolmades.
  9. Nasturtium pizza. Or, for a super easy family meal, you can consider simply adding it on top of a pizza.
  10. caper substitute. Nasturtium seeds can also be used as a substitute for capers.

Whether you’re growing nasturtiums for their attractiveness or the benefits they bring to your garden, or are considering incorporating your nasturtiums into one of the delicious recipes above, there’s no doubt that you should make some place for this versatile flower in your garden.

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