Nasturtiums

Written by Ann Howard   Date Posted: 22 March 2016 

 

Consider the Humble Nasturtium:

Brilliant cherry red, yellow, scarlet and orange nasturtium flowers, tall, short and climbing ramble across my garden uninvited but welcome.  Some have variegated leaves, splashed with yellow.  I saw they were encouraged at Monet’s marvelous garden at Givenchy.  I prize them because they contain iron and a high level of vitamin C and were once taken as a remedy for scurvy.  Medicinally, all parts of the plant are said to have a tonic, cleansing and antiseptic effect.

 

 

Nasturtiums are found in many parts of the world.  Tropaeolum majus is believed to have originated in the Andes from Bolivia north to Colombia.  The seeds were taken to Europe from Peru by Spanish explorers in the 16th century.  The name ‘nasturtium’ comes from the Latin for ‘nose tormentor’ as the leaves are peppery in taste.  The plant dies down in the winter and is very easily removed by hand.

 

 

A gentle scent arises from nasturtiums in the sun.  They repel aphids and cucumber beetles.  The plant secretes a mustard oil which white flies find attractive.  These pests will seek out nasturtiums in preference to cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli so they are a good companion plant.  Nasturtiums are particularly good planted near radishes to give them their hot taste.  

 

I think the soft, almost circular leaves, darker on the top, cupping towards the sky are beautiful.  One morning, my three year old son came slowly towards my bed, carefully carrying a leaf with a crystal clear drop of dew wobbling about in its centre and told me it was better than a cup of tea before he tipped it over my face!

 

 

Leaves can be used in salads where they impart a distinctly peppery flavour.  They can be used in flavoured vinegars, vinegraittes, salad oils, pasta, stews, sandwiches and garnishes.

The unripe seeds can be used like capers but eaten in large quantities have a purgative effect.  Seeds, leaves and flowers can be chopped and blended into butter for piquancy.  

 

Children and bees sip the nectar in the flower spurs.  The orange flowers make a brilliant garnish for green salads.  They can be filled with a soft cream cheese and herb filling shortly before serving.  I have had surprised dinner guests who have cautiously nibbled at the flowers, which seems to me to be a strange attitude when you see what some people eat!.

 

Written by Ann Howard.


Related Products:

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

$1.30

Nasturtium- Alaska Mixed

Nasturtium- Alaska Mixed

$1.30

Nasturtium- Jewel Mix

Nasturtium- Jewel Mix

$1.30

Browse all our products here

Recent blog posts:


Controlling Whitefly Without Chemical Pesticides

Author: The Seed Collection Pty Ltd   Date Posted: 15 August 2019 

Whitefly may not be as well known as their close cousins aphids, but they can cause at least as many problems if they infest your vegetable garden. This article explains how to recognise these insects, & how to limit the damage they can do to your plant.

Read more


New Seeds August 2019: 70 New Seed Varieties Available Now

Author: The Seed Collection Pty Ltd   Date Posted: 10 August 2019 

70 New seed varieties available now, August 2019. Heirloom, open pollinated, non-hybrid and non-GMO seeds with no chemical treatments.

Read more


10 Reasons Your Cabbages Are Not Forming Heads

Author: The Seed Collection Pty Ltd   Date Posted: 6 August 2019 

Many gardeners are disappointed when their cabbages fail to develop strong, compact heads. This article gives ten common reasons for heads failing to form, along with tips for overcoming them.

Read more


Ants in the Garden: a Mixture of Friend and Foe

Author: The Seed Collection Pty Ltd   Date Posted: 30 July 2019 

Ants are an essential part of the ecosystem but if your garden's population gets out of control, you'll need to deal with the problem. This article explains why heavy infestations are harmful, and offers eco-friendly ways of dealing with them.

Read more


Blanching Vegetables for a Better Flavour, Colour, and Texture

Author: The Seed Collection Pty Ltd   Date Posted: 25 July 2019 

Occasionally, the amount of sunlight a vegetable receives can be deliberately reduced, to change the way it grows. This process is known as blanching, and it's used more often than you might think, as this article explains.

Read more


View all blog posts