Posted by: Rachael | February 23, 2010


It was a veritable forest. Every welcome plant was being swamped by nasturtiums. Now I have nothing against nasturtiums, but they were completely overtaking the garden – actually they HAD completely overtaken the garden. They had popped up between the cabbages, they were strangling the silverbeet and totally terrorising the tomatoes. I had lost the celery, chives and cauliflower, and even the far-reaching tentacles of the zuchinni plants were not immune. Something had to be done. So I pulled them out. Not all of them, but a massive pile.

Then I came inside and googled nasturitums to see what I was going to miss out on.
Their prolific green growth is apparently due to the fact that I have very rich soil. Unfortunately this also explains why they are not flowering at all. Although this does little to explain why the plants in the compost pile are flowering happily.
But that’s not all I discovered. I already knew you could eat the flowers – but we didn’t have any of them, well, not out of the compost anyway, and while our children might have been happy playing on the manure mountain in Mongolia, they would be less enthusiastic about eating produce straight from the compost pile! Not even stuffed with cream cheese and walnuts.

The flowers can also go in vinegar. To every cup you add about five blossons, leave for anything from a few days to a month, depending which recipe you look at, and then you remove the flowers and replace them with fresh ones.

The leaves can go in salad – or chopped up in mayonnaise or in white cheese. They taste peppery apparently. In fact, during World War II when pepper was unavailable in England, people ground up nasturtium seeds to the same effect. I’m inspired. But I need poor soil so I can get flowers and seeds.

The grandest thing I discovered is that these darlings will pop up again all by themselves – in fact, the more indifferent I am to them, the more they will produce. So I might have just removed a huge crop from my garden, but I am assured it will return.

PS A few days after writing this we added the leaves to our hamburgers along with other salad greens. They ARE peppery. And crunchy. Very yummy. Why can’t you buy them in the shops? I sense a market opportunity. And I start thinking about how gardening gives you more variety and more choice, but I’ll talk about that another day.



  1. I removed it completely from our garden, took a bit of effort.
    Probably too low a demand for it to be worth stocking in shops.
    You never know probably more worth while trying a farmers market.

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