Tropaeolum majus (garden nasturtium, Indian cress, or monks cress) is a flowering plant in the family Tropaeolaceae, originating in the Andes from Bolivia north to Colombia.
This year I decided to try to grow nasturtiums from seed. I bought all the traditional trays with the plastic tops and the pods to put into the trays etc. I had everything but grow lights. I think I will purchase those for next year. I have a hard time finding nasturtiums at the nurseries here. I have only found one that even offers them. I know these plants are hardy and due very well in a coastal setting. My success growing them from seed is mixed. I think the seeds do better if planted directly in the ground and not in the house. I also think I will have to plant the seeds indoors in January not March. They seem to need a long time to get really going. The ones I planted from seed and tried to transplant… some made it. The seeds I sowed directly in my garden have mixed results. The soil in my garden is predominately clay. I have been adding mulch and working into the soil this year and it is helping. I found worms already in the clay, so it is working. Here is a photo of the seeds I planted directly in my clay soil.
Next, I planted some in planters on my fence with good organic soil. These were transplanted from the seeds I grew indoors, a better result.
Now here is an example of nasturtiums I bought and planted. The first two were put into pots with good organic soil. This is the end of the season for them, so they are starting to look a little peaked. But all summer they were lush and blooming like crazy.
Note: In Latin nasturtium literally means "nose twist." While most edible flowers have a subtle flavor, nasturtiums knock your socks off with their peppery taste. Plus, it's not just the flowers and buds that are packed with a zippy flavor; the young leaves are tender and edible as well.
Next I planted some directly in the clay soil I am trying to build up in the front of the house. Here are the results.
Now here is something interesting, grasshoppers do not like to eat this plant. Yeah for me. I also have to contend with cotton tail bunnies who have decided to live in my garden, under my garage window. Can’t kill them, can’t seem to catch them so I am trying to work around them. Trying out different plants to see which ones they won’t eat. I plant marigolds all over the garden for them to eat. Bunnies don’t eat them in my yard, but the grasshoppers do. The grasshoppers are also after my irises and more.