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The hapless young gardener is often warned against excessively fertilizing nasturtiums, because (so the books say) the plant will engage in excessive leaf production, at the expense of flowers. Nasturtiums, they say, want a poor, somewhat dry soil, in order to achieve maximum flower production.

But words like “overly rich soil” can mean all sorts of things. What counts as overly? They did very well last year in the vegetable garden, so this year I put on an inch of mushroom compost and planted nasturtiums again.



Ah. Yes. Hmm. Apparently an inch of mushroom compost is the bit that turns “rich” into “overly rich.” This is the nasturtiums, AFTER I cut them back (they were vining wildly across the pathway) where they have entirely eaten my herb-mound. They are knee-high everywhere and nearly thigh-high in places. There are bits of basil sticking up through the carnage, but I had to plant another row of basil (after taking out the spent peas) and if Kevin ever needs any fresh sage, I’m going to have to go in with a machete. It forced the also-highly-crazed cilantro back against the deck railing, requiring me to do a rescue-and-extraction operation on the lemon verbena.

I grow nasturtiums for no reason except that they say “garden” to me—the flowers are edible but we hardly ever use them, certainly not in the quantities they are produced. I love them simply because they are one of the quintessential garden plants and they grow extremely easily from seed (which for ME is very important. I’m not good at it.)

I have no idea how I am supposed to edge my vegetable garden with these in the future, if they’re going to do this in my improved garden soil…

Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.

Ah. Mm. I always figured that nasturtiums were what you planted when you just want to fill up space as quickly as possible with minimal effort until a better idea occurs to you. Scatter a few seeds, and then the plants will happily re-seed themselves for years and make a nice, dense lump of green and flowers that prevent more noxious plants from getting established. But as soon as you tell the nasturtiums that you don't want to be friends anymore, they'll quietly let you uproot them. At least, that's how it's always worked for me.

I also recall that the leaves are edible.

Ooh! That's what I need to put on the fence for the chicken coop! The ground there is horrible, but it should be great for nastursiums.

I love nasturtium flowers! Sharp and peppery, mmm yummy. (: We are between houses right now, or I'd have some growing for sure. They look so pretty in salads, too. <3

They're really good chopped up fine and mixed with cream cheese, too.

The young leaves are delicious in salads--delightfully peppery.

I love nasturtiums, but they seem to prefer neglect bordering on outright abuse. I almost feel bad. No water for you! No nutrients! Now repay me with flowers! There's a nasturtium-choked wooded park near the San Diego river that's just a wonderland -- I actually wonder if they're considered invasive and the parks volunteers try to remove them, but wow, it looks amazing.

Ooh, a flower that grows quickly and LIKES being neglected? I really need a house now. :)

The leaves are also edible, though not as good as the flowers... just make a whole load of cress salad? :P

Nasturtiums LOOOOOVE the San Francisco Bay area. They are EVERYWHERE and I'm constantly at war with them to maintain my garden space. Since I'm constantly pulling them up, though, I have a constant supply of them, and they're damn tasty in pretty much anything you'd put spinach in, cooked or raw. The entire plant is edible; try brining and pickling the pods! They end up tasting like capers, a little, and they're lovely in salads.

In addition to being edible, Nasturtiums are supposedly wildly good for vegetable gardens. They are toted to deter many types of aphid, whitefly, cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and it attracts predator insects that eat the bad garden bugs. YAY.

O rly. They're on my list for next year, then. And they should love our horrible soil.

I have no idea how I am supposed to edge my vegetable garden with these in the future, if they’re going to do this in my improved garden soil…

I imagine you're going to have to import some poor soil to grow your nasturtiums. Not that you'll need to go far to get some. There will be this one stripe of carefully maintained, dry, almost nutrient-free soil where the nasturtiums can grow and flower, taunting the herbs. "If this soil were any better, I'd come over and strangle you, I would! Just ask the cilantro! It knows what I can do!"

And the cilantro and the lemon verbena will tell tales of 2012, The Year The Nasturtiums Rose Up In Anger, and offer delicious seasoning up to The Beloved Gardener, if only those days never come again.

*falls out of chair laughing*

Now I want a PICTURE of that! Ursula can do that, right?

"Revenge of the Nasturtiums!"

The leaves are quite tasty too. They have a slightly spicy edge, but far from fiery. Chow down!

Nasturtiums are watercress relatives, FWIW.

Woman, what are you putting in your garden? First the mutant Snow Spike, now the Golden Horde of Nasturtiums.

Nasturiums are good for natural dyeing! And for hapa-zome (essentially - smashing with a hammer on some fabric to dye it and leave impressions of the smashed plant matter).

I suspect this semi-invasive quality is one reason they're sometimes called "Nasty urchins". (Probably not inspiration to illustration, quite.)

If you're looking for edging, I'd suggest boxwood basil instead. I save these guys for where I'm looking for an edible invasive to try that's slightly short of dandelions.

Unless you'd care for some wine... and upset neighbors. :D "You're cultivating WHAT?"

And the nasty urchins thing has resulted in the mental picture of a garden with urchins as flowers. ::headdesk::

They are a noxious weed here in NZ due to the habit of going nuts whent they find habitat they like, and smothering all local growth. Guess you found out about that the hard way :)

At least they pull out relatively easily, unlike convovulus which spreads underground like mint and is impossible to eradicate by anything less than a full nuclear strike :(

I'm willing to bet Convolvulus survive even being nuked!

Put one or two plants on a trellis, and use the flowers in salads instead of radishes. Yummy, pretty, and yes, cut back those vines before they challenge kudzu :) If you want edging- marigolds, thyme, Anything but Nasties. Good luck there- giggle.