As well as providing bright and cheerful flowers, nasturtiums are the ultimate companion plant as they repel certain pests with their pungent scent and lure away others that threaten to gobble up nearby vegies and herbs. They are also ideal for a child’s first garden as not only are they easy peasy to grow but smaller green thumbs who decide to take a nibble are in no danger as the seeds, buds, flowers and leaves are all edible which is a good selling point to get your kids gardening! Plus they thrive on a little neglect, hence the saying ‘be nasty to nasturtiums’. You can add the flowers and leaves to salads and omelettes to brighten up your plate (and day) and use the seeds as a pepper substitute.
What you’ll need
Nasturtium seeds or seedlings from your local nursery
My First GardenTM
Water-filled watering can
How to grow:
- Choose a sunny position for your raised flower bed.
- Prepare with potting mix and either sow your nasturtium seeds directly into the soil (about 2cm deep) or simply plant your seedlings.
- Keep moist until seedlings appear but then allow soil to dry out between waterings. Plants should start to flower within 10-12 weeks of sowing.
- Pick as needed, the plant will regrow new shoots.
Aunty Steph’s rainbow pasta salad
A great way to get kids to eat their greens!
350g bow-tie pasta
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1 Lebanese cucumber cut into sticks
2 cups rocket or spinach (or both!)
Handful of nasturtium blossoms, rinsed
Pepper to taste
How to cook with Nasturtiums:
- Cook pasta in boiling water over high heat until al dente (about 10 minutes). Drain and set aside to cool.
- Mix lemon juice, olive oil and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
- Add pasta, feta, greens and cucumber to a large bowl. Drizzle with lemon dressing. Top with nasturtium blossoms and mix gently.
Besides looking beautiful both in the garden and in a salad, nasturtiums are filled to the brim with nutrients. They contain a rich supply of vitamin C, iron and other minerals and they also have natural antibiotic and antioxidant properties to support healthy growing bodies.