Seed of the Month – Nasturtium
Tropaeolum majus (M2560)
Nasturtiums have always been famed for their stunning bright hot colours and how easy they are to grow. Suitable for pots, tubs and containers, these little flowers are scented and incredibly colourful. Before modern lighting they were praised as an “excellent colour for candle light”. This rampant and useful plant is also said to actually emit electric sparks! Apparently this phenomenon happens towards the evening and seen through partially closed eyes – so give it a try.
Choose a well drained site in part shade or full sun. Sow these seeds in trays for subsequent transplanting. Sow seeds 20cm apart and at a depth of 2cm. Keep seedbed or trays evenly moist during the germination period of 7-14 days. Apply McGregor's Fruitmax (FRUIT200/400) 2 weeks after germination and once a month afterwards for healthier plants and maximum flowering. Protect your flower garden from snails and slugs with McGregor's Snail and Slug bait (SNAIL400) and from White buterfly with McGregor's Derris Dust .
To assist germination, soak seeds in water 2 hours before sowing.
- Planted among other plants Nasturtiums have been showed to repel many different types of pest like Lopper Caterpillar and Whitefly. Use around like cucumbers, melons and pumpkins.
- Potatoes also benefit being next to nasturtium with fewer Potato Beetles.
- It also acts as a “trap crop” especially to Aphids, this means that it the adult form of the pest will feed on the flower heads and lay their eggs on this plant leaving the desirable food crops alone.
- As well as a bug deterrent they are a great ground cover around the base of fruit trees, very undemanding requiring little moisture and keeping out the weeds.
- Nasturtium leaves, seed pods and flowers can be eaten; it has a sweet peppery taste that is perfect in salads. Larger flowers and leaves can be torn and tossed through the salad, use the smaller flowers to garnish. The seed pods are pickled and used like capers.