Nasturtiums are versatile and easy-to-grow plants that can provide a range of benefits to your vegetable garden. Here are some of the main reasons to consider growing nasturtiums alongside those veggies.
1. Attracting Pollinators
One of the most significant benefits of growing nasturtiums is their ability to attract pollinators.
Nasturtiums are excellent at attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies. This can help increase your vegetable garden’s yield and ensure that your fruits and vegetables are properly pollinated.
2. Trap Crop
This is one of the main reasons I grow nasturtiums; they are an effective trap crop. This means that certain pests will be attracted to your nasturtiums instead of your vegetables, meaning your veg crop gets left alone.
This can work well with cabbage butterflies and also blackflies, two common pests that love nasturtiums and often choose them over your veg.
Both of these pests rarely migrate from plant to plant, so you don’t need to worry about them coming over from your nasturtiums.
3. Edible Flowers and Leaves
Another benefit of growing nasturtiums is that they are edible, both the leaves and flowers.
The flowers have a slightly peppery flavour and can be used to add colour and flavour to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes. The leaves
4. They Look Great
I am a firm believer in making your vegetable garden as attractive as possible. If it is a wonderful space that you just love to be in then you will undoubtedly spend more time there.
This is one of the reasons why I have a dedicated cut flower bed on my allotment patch.
Along with this, I also companion plant lots of flowers such as marigolds, alyssum, calendula and of course, nasturtiums.
Seed Starting and Planting
Nasturtiums are easy to grow from seed, and they can be started indoors or sown directly into the garden.
I start mine in small plug trays, using regular multi-purpose compost.
Once the seeds have sprouted and grown to roughly 3-5cm tall, I transplant them into larger pots.
From here, I allow them to grow in the greenhouse for a couple of weeks before they make their way into the garden.
You can also direct sow nasturtiums where they are to grow. They aren’t fussy plants and are simple to grow.
Soil and Watering
Nasturtiums prefer poor to average-quality soil and do not require fertilisation. In fact, too much fertiliser can lead to fewer blooms and excess foliage. They also prefer well-draining soil, so be sure to amend heavy clay soils with organic matter before planting.
Water nasturtiums regularly, but do not overwater. They can tolerate some drought but will not thrive in overly dry conditions.
Be sure to water at the base of the plant to avoid getting water on the leaves, which can lead to fungal diseases.
Climbing and Trellising
Nasturtiums are a climbing plant and can be trained to grow up trellises or other support structures. They will also climb up nearby plants or structures if left to their own devices.
To encourage climbing, provide a trellis or other support structure and gently train the vines to climb up it.
They will also fall over walls or raised beds and spread out, they look gorgeous doing this!
When it comes to nasturtiums, there are three main types of varieties: trailing, compact, and climbing.
In fairness, most nasturtiums will grow fine in containers, trailing or climbing. But some varieties are more suited to specific roles over others.
Trailing nasturtiums are perfect for hanging baskets, window boxes, or as ground cover. They have long, trailing stems that can reach up to 2 metres in length, making them ideal for adding colour and texture to your garden. Some popular trailing varieties include:
Compact nasturtiums are ideal for small gardens or for planting in pots. They have shorter stems and smaller leaves than trailing varieties, but they still produce a profusion of brightly coloured flowers. Some popular compact varieties include:
Climbing nasturtiums are perfect for adding height and interest to your garden. They can be trained to climb up trellises, fences, or walls, and can reach up to 3 metres in height. Some popular climbing varieties include:
In summary, nasturtiums come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them suitable for any garden. Whether you’re looking for a trailing plant to add colour to your hanging baskets, a compact plant for your pots, or a climbing plant to add height to your garden, there’s a nasturtium variety for you.