Nasturtiums are very easy to grow and will thrive in even the poorest garden soil, where nothing else will grow. Although they are annual plants, they self-seed profusely, so once they’re established in your garden you can look forward to an endless supply.
- Nasturtiums grow equally well in full sun and semi-shade. They grow well in poor soil, so it is not necessary to prepare the soil in advance.
- Sow nasturtium seeds about 1.5cm deep as they need darkness to germinate. Keep the soil moist while germination occurs.
- Nasturtiums tend to spread out quite rapidly, so pinch out the growing tips if you would like to encourage bushier, compact growth.
- Nasturtium leaves have a peppery flavor similar to rocket and watercress. Add them to salads, sandwiches, stir-fries and risotto. Once picked they can be kept in the fridge for about 5 days.
- The leaves are high in vitamin C and also have anti-bacterial qualities. A tea made from the leaves is useful for preventing and treating colds and flu.
- Nasturtium flowers can be used as a garnish for a myriad of dishes, including salads and sushi. Try filling the open flowers with a soft cheese, such as goat’s cheese. Once picked, flowers can be stored in the fridge or in a vase of water.
- Make your own capers by collecting nasturtium flower buds while they are still tightly closed. Wash the green flower buds well, place them in a clean glass jar and cover with vinegar. Three days later you will have your own homemade capers.