Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nasturtiums in the Flower & Herb Garden

Nasturtiums are one of my favorite flowers to grow directly from seed. Technically, they are herbs. The blooms, foliage and seeds are all edible, plus it's charming in the garden. This year I'm growing Tall Single Mixed Colors, which has a mixture of yellows and oranges. This variety is known for it's ability to grow in poor soil where it "sprawls" and brightens up an otherwise dreary space. I'm also growing the Alaska variety below, which has a varigated foliage that has cream swirls. It sprawls, but not too much. I always plant it at the front of the flower bed.

Lastly, I'm growing a Cherry nasturtium that is actually a dwarf variety. I grew it when we lived in the city and it's a lovely pink with a light pretty fragrance. It's perfect for containers and window or deck boxes. This year I'm going to plant it in the raised vegetable bed with basil.

Nasturtiums can be direct sown into the soil about an inch deep at any time during the spring. I have experimented over the years with soaking, starting indoors etc. and still the ones that have always done the best for me are the ones I simply stuck in the ground, watered and left alone.

Nasturtium seeds can be pickled and used much like you would capers. In 'The Joy of Cooking' by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc., New York, 1975) they give a nice recipe for preparing the seeds.

After the blossoms fall, pick off the half-ripened Nasturtium seed pods. Continue as your crop develops to drop them into a boiled and strained mixture of:

1 quart white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Pickling Salt
1 thinly sliced onion
1/2 teaspoon each allspice, mace and celery seed
3 peppercorns

Keep refrigerated and use as a variation for capers.

On OFL we have more recipes and tips for growing nasturtiums.



  1. Beautiful. Great tips and thanks for the recipe.

  2. Thanks for the recipe. At least yours is blooming. I am thinking of pinching mine back... All leggy.


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