May – Herb of the Month: Nasturtium

By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America

Nasturium seed packetsThe first year I planted nasturtiums they grew in great mounds of round green leaves and orange flowers. The plants were so lush, I could pick both for salads and you’d never notice the plants had been harvested.

The sun was bright and the soil was awful. And, that probably accounts for a big part of my success. I simply poked the shriveled, dried, chickpea-like seeds into the soil and walked away. I only had so much time and that was given to my other pursuits.

I was pleased with the results, so I tried year after year to duplicate them. Nada.
I already knew that nasturtiums don’t transplant well. In my experience they got leggy and lacked vigor. Because it had been easy to start from seed just where I wanted them to grow, that’s what I tried. In different spots.

One year I filled two urns with rich potting soil, added organic fertilizers and nudged seeds an inch underground. My results were lame. I later found out nasturtiums prefer weak soil. Thenasturtiumre’s probably a life metaphor there about overcoming weakness and blooming where planted.

Whatever the case, nasturtiums, unlike children, don’t need the fuss.


I’ve written before about eating flowers, but haven’t mentioned nasturtiums and I’m uncertain why I’ve neglected this gem. The lilypad-like leaves and flowers are both peppery and a savory accent to a mixed green salad. And, the blossoms are a bright accent. Just be certain to rinse well to dislodge pests.

3 thoughts on “May – Herb of the Month: Nasturtium

  1. Have a few growing in pots and hope to plant more–enough to supply some salads. So glad to learn they don’t like rich soil.

    Like

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