By E. VinjeTweet
A fast growing annual plant that reseeds itself freely. Home gardeners are growing nasturtium (Tropaeolum) for their colorful flowers and attractive foliage. The flowers and leaves are edible and make a peppery addition to salads, pastas or used as a garnish. Hardy annual, 12-14 inches tall.
Nasturtiums prefer full sun and average moist soil, but beware; once established it may be hard to eradicate. In hot climates plant in partial shade.
How to Plant:
Sow outdoors one week after last frost 1/4 inch beneath the surface of the soil. Nasturtium seeds germinate in 7-12 days. Some of the taller climbing varieties will need support. Pinch off the spent blooms to extend the flowering season.
Insects and Disease:
Check often for aphids. If they occur, treat with an insecticidal soap or other natural pest control method.
Seed Saving Instructions:
Nasturtiums will cross-pollinate. Gardeners should only grow one variety at a time to save pure seed, or isolate varieties by 1/2 mile. Seeds are formed in pods beneath the blossoms containing around 2-3 large seeds. Pods do have a tendency to burst, so placing an old sheet or newspaper around the plants may be necessary. Picking the seedpods slightly premature is also an option.