When it comes to edible flowers that you can add to your diet on a regular basis, there is nothing that compares with the taste of nasturtium microgreens. That’s because these are some of the edible flowers that actually do well with savory dishes since they have flavors that complement almost any kind of meat dish. As such, you might want to grow your own nasturtium microgreens at home. But how do you grow nasturtium microgreens?
You can nick the coating of the seeds before planting them (optional), and soak them in warm water for up to 4 hours. Place the nasturtium seeds in moist soil and spread them out. Water as much as needed and use a grow light. Allow the nasturtium microgreens to grow at least 2 leaves before harvesting.
Nasturtium microgreens are amazing edible flowers that are great for any kind of diet due to how delicious and nutritious they are. As such, it is best for you to actually learn how to grow your own nasturtium microgreens at home so that it will be easier for you to incorporate these edible flowers into your diet without having to buy them at higher prices. So, let’s get to know more about growing nasturtium microgreens.
What are nasturtium microgreens?
In a day and age where people are switching over to a greener lifestyle in terms of their diet, there are now more people who are actually planting their own greens at home and incorporating such greens into their regular meals upon harvesting them. After all, it is easier for them to have a good supply of greens if they grow them at home.
Of course, greens aren’t only the most amazing plants that you can include in your diet because you could also take advantage of the health properties and the unique flavors that come with edible flowers. There are actually some flowers that are quite edible and are more delicious than most other plants that you have ever tasted in your life. And when it comes to the overall flavor, there aren’t a lot of edible flowers that are actually similar to nasturtium.
Nasturtium is actually a perennial plant that has stems that are succulent and flowers that are yellowish in color. These plants are often used for culinary purposes because every part of the nasturtium plant is edible. This is why nasturtium is often included in plenty of dishes such as salads and other savory meals.
Now, the reason why nasturtium is often used for culinary purposes can be due to the fact that it is not only edible but also comes with a spicy and peppery flavor. This is something that can be quite rare in edible flowers because most edible flowers come with sweet and floral flavors that are better off mixed with sweet dishes and other vegetables. On the other hand, the spicy and peppery taste of nasturtium allows it to blend well with the flavors of meat as we often associate spicy and peppery flavors with savory meat dishes. Still, the nasturtium can be used for salads as well.
Aside from using the nasturtium flowers and leaves with cooked dishes, you could also use them in sauces and dips in your salad to give the salad a different kick unlike others. As such, you have a wide array of choices when it comes to nasturtium.
If you want to take advantage of the flavors of nasturtium while maximizing the health benefits that it offers, growing them in your own home as microgreens are the best way to do so. While adult nasturtium plants are already nutritious on their own, their microgreen versions are pretty much just as delicious but even more healthy. But what makes nasturtium microgreens different from full-grown nasturtium plants?
So, nasturtium microgreens are actually dwarf versions of the nasturtium plant as they are not allowed to grow to their full size when you plant them. These nasturtium microgreens are not grown from special seeds as they are simply grown from regular nasturtium seeds. It is only in the way that you grow them that makes them microgreens as opposed to full-grown plants.
As such, when you want to grow nasturtium microgreens, it is best that you actually know how to do so while keeping them in their dwarf forms so that you could maximize the flavors and health benefits that come with these plants.
In terms of the varieties, you can choose from, there are over 50 types of nasturtium plants out there. As such, you have a wide array of choices to choose from as each of these different varieties have their own uniqueness in terms of taste and benefits but they are all pretty much the same in most other factors.
So, with that said, let’s move on to talking more about why you may want to eat nasturtium microgreens and why you should make these edible flowers a healthy part of your regular diet at home.
Why grow nasturtium microgreens
Like plenty of other edible flowers or even greens, in general, there are plenty of different health benefits that you can get from nasturtium microgreens. While adult nasturtium plants generally have a similar number of benefits when compared to their microgreen counterparts, nasturtium microgreens tend to have more of those nutrients due to their status as microgreens. That said, here are the advantages and benefits that you can get from consuming nasturtium microgreens or from growing them, general:
- Boosts immune system
In a day and age where it is important for us to boost our immune system and to make sure that we have the capacity to fight off deadly diseases, we can never get enough natural sources of antioxidants and vitamins that can help keep us healthy.
Nasturtium is very rich in vitamin C, which is a natural antioxidant that helps fend off illnesses and diseases by boosting our natural immune system. You could also find other helpful vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, and calcium in nasturtium microgreens.
- Helps with colds
During the colder weather when we are not at our healthiest due to colds, nasturtium is there to help make life easier for us because this edible flower can be great as a natural remedy for colds. That’s because nasturtium microgreens are rich in vitamin C, which is a natural antibiotic that can help fight off minor colds.
Eating a few leaves and petals of this edible flower can be more than enough to help keep yourself healthy and to keep colds at bay. This is why nasturtium is used as herbal medicine in many different places around the world.
- Great for beauty
Like most other vegetables and edible flowers, the vitamins and minerals found in nasturtium microgreens can be a great way for you to improve your overall appearance as they can keep you looking young and fresh. That’s because nasturtium contains plenty of natural antioxidants that fend off free radicals and detoxify your body so that you will look 10 years younger than your actual age.
And even if you are not planning on consuming your nasturtium, these edible flowers can be used for your hair to treat dandruff and to improve your scalp health. You can even use these flowers as a tea to get the same beauty benefits that you can get from applying nasturtium to your hair.
- Keeps insects away
Again, even if you are not planning on consuming your nasturtium microgreens or even when these plants are still growing, they are amazing pest repellents. This should be great if you have other greens and fruits in your garden because you want to keep the pesky insects away from them.
The reason why nasturtium can help repel pests is that they are capable of masking the scent of your other plants all while attracting these pests towards the nasturtium leaves. As such, the pests will hardly ever notice your other plants when they are too busy with your nasturtium.
- Lasts for a long time
Nasturtium is a perennial plant that will continue to grow for a long time even after harvesting it. That means that a few nasturtium seeds can give you plenty of nasturtium microgreens for a very long time before the plants reach the ultimate end of their lifespan. As such, growing nasturtium microgreens can help save you money because you can simply wait until they are once again ready for harvest.
- Helps improve flavor
Finally, regardless of whatever health benefits that nasturtium microgreens provide, they are great at improving the flavor of your dishes. This is why chefs love using nasturtium microgreens for culinary purposes because they add a layer of depth to salads and savory dishes thanks to the spicy and peppery taste that this edible flower comes with. You can add them to cooked meals or even garnish your dishes with them to give them more flavors and health benefits.
How to grow nasturtium microgreens
Now that you know more about nasturtium microgreens and are now convinced that you want to grow your own supply of nasturtium microgreens at home, here is how you do so:
What you will be needing:
First off, before anything else, here are the supplies that you will be needing if you want to properly grow your own nasturtium microgreens:
Of course, you will need nasturtium seeds if you want to actually grow nasturtium microgreens. Take note that nasturtium microgreens don’t grow from special seeds but are grown from regular nasturtium seeds. It is up to how you grow the plants that keep them at their microgreen stage.
The container that you will be using should be shallow garden trays. It is best to get at least two of these with one having a drainage hole and the other one without a drainage hole. We will explain later on why these containers are important.
Use any great growing medium to grow your nasturtium microgreens. Regular soil will do just fine but we don’t recommend that you use soil that is full of chemical fertilizers because you want to keep your nasturtium microgreens free from chemicals (considering that you are going to consume them). A good seed starter mix might be a good idea because they do well with microgreens.
It is important that you grow your nasturtium microgreens in soil because these plants don’t do well when grown through the process of hydroponics. You don’t even have to use soil that is rich in nutrients because your nasturtium microgreens will get all the nutrients they need from the seed endosperm, because those are fast growing microgreens. They need around 10 days to be ready.
Instead of relying on the sun and keeping your nasturtium microgreens outdoors, we prefer that you grow them indoors and that you use a grow light to provide the nasturtium plants the light they need to grow and stay healthy. You may keep them outdoors but keeping them indoors will make it easier to keep them away from pests and other conditions that may make them less than edible.
But the main reason why we prefer to use a grow light is due to how we want our nasturtium microgreens to grow densely and evenly without allowing them to lean to the side. Growing them outdoors where there will be sunlight on all sides may allow the nasturtium microgreens to grow and lean sideways, which might be okay but is far from ideal. And the best part about growing lights is that you can control how many hours of light the nasturtium microgreens get on a daily basis.
So, the purpose of these shears is for harvesting the nasturtium microgreens. Simple kitchen scissors will do so long as they are not large enough to make it difficult for you to harvest your nasturtium microgreens.
Because you want your nasturtium seeds to be misted with water regularly, a good misting bottle is very important. Misting bottles are great if you want to mist your nasturtium seeds with enough water in every part of the plant without flooding its roots with too much water.
Step by step guide on growing nasturtium microgreens
So, because you now have what you need to grow your own nasturtium microgreens, let’s now look at the process of actually growing these tasty leaves.
- Soak the seeds
The first thing that you need to do to grow your own nasturtium microgreens is to soak the seeds. That’s because the seeds are big, round, and bumpy and would need to be soaked well enough in the water to help with the germination process. We also have tested without soaking, but we think that it is a little bit better to soak in warm water before sowing. The germination rate was a little bit better.
It is best that, before planting them, you soak the nasturtium microgreens in warm water for at least 2 hours but not more than 4 hours. This will allow them to germinate faster and better when you plant the seeds in their medium.
And before transferring the nasturtium seeds to a bowl right before planting them, give them a final rinsing in warm water. Again, our goal here is to allow them to germinate better because you will only be wasting the seeds if they don’t even germinate.
- Planting the seeds
So, now that you have already soaked your nasturtium seeds, let us now go to the actual planting proper. What you need to do first is to fill the tray or container with the hole with about three-quarters of the soil. Make sure that you tamp the soil lightly after moistening it to make sure that it isn’t dry and that it is packed in.
After that, you are now ready to sow the soaked nasturtium seeds. Put them on the soil and make sure that they are spaced out evenly but are quite close to one another without allowing one seed to overlap another. The goal here is to limit the space that each seed has because growing microgreens requires that the seedlings don’t have enough space to get enough nutrients to grow into their adult forms.
From there, cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil, which is not something that you will often see when you grow other microgreens. Soak and tamp the surface of the soil and then cover the container with the second tray that doesn’t have a hole. The purpose of doing so is to allow the seeds to germinate because seeds need a period of darkness to germinate.
Keep the seeds covered for at most 3 days and make sure that the only time you will remove the cover is to mist the soil when it is getting dry. Always make sure that the medium is moist but not flooded, and that is why a misting bottle is the right way to keep the soil moist enough. Keep the temperature warm and a bit above room temperature as well.
- Growing the seedlings
After three days, the seeds should have germinated or have sprouted, and that is when you should remove the cover permanently. This is also when the nasturtium seedlings would require enough light on a regular basis to grow properly. As such, go and get your grow light to provide the seedlings with the light that they need.
Nasturtium microgreens require about 12-16 hours of light a day to grow properly. This will allow their pale leaves to develop the green color that you should want from your nasturtium microgreens once they are ready for harvesting.
The one thing that you should know about nasturtium microgreens is that they are still susceptible to bacteria growth even though they grow for a short window of time. That’s why, to minimize the growth of bacteria and mold, it is best that you will only water the sprouts from the bottom.
What you need to do here is to take advantage of the cover that you used to germinate the seeds. Fill the cover with a few inches of water and allow the garden tray to sit inside the cover tray so that the soil will be able to get enough water through the hole on the tray.
This is essentially what we mean when we say that we need to water the nasturtium sprouts from the bottom instead of from the top. Watering them from the top will allow bacteria and mold to develop on the moist areas of the leaves. Meanwhile, watering from the bottom will keep the upper portion of the sprouts dry but the roots well fed. This process will also make sure that your plants are only getting the water that they need as excess moisture can lead to bacterial growth and other related issues.
Our very detailed process, supported with video is in our online video course, where ou will gain all what you need to start growing your micorgreens and start your own business with them.
- Time for harvesting
After planting your nasturtium seeds, it will take about 10 to 14 days for them to be ready enough for harvesting. In most cases, other microgreens should be ready for harvesting once the cotyledons appear but that isn’t the case for nasturtium microgreens.
For nasturtium microgreens, you should wait until 2 to 4 leaves form before you harvest them because the leaves hold plenty of flavors. Make sure that you also leave at least 2 leaves on your nasturtium microgreens so that they will still regrow after harvesting your first batch.
In most cases, allow each nasturtium microgreens to grow up to 4 leaves. Allowing the nasturtium microgreens to grow more than 4 leaves means that the plant is now getting enough nutrients from the soil instead of the seed endosperm. That would ultimately lead the plant to grow to its mature size, which is not what we are after here.
While nasturtium flowers are amazing because they are edible, we are focusing more on the nasturtium microgreens here. As such, it is best to limit the leaves to up to 4 because anything more than that means that the microgreens are ready to take the next step towards adulthood.
As such, grab your shears the moment that the nasturtium microgreens reach 4 leaves. Clip the tips of the nasturtium microgreens while including a few leaves. Make sure that at least 2 leaves are left behind so that the nasturtium microgreens can still regrow.
After that, you are free to do whatever you want with the nasturtium microgreens. You can eat them as they are or cook them together with your regular meals similar to what you do with spinach. You can even use them for garnishing or for tea if you want.
I think this procedure is manly for home growers, because we want as much yield as possible. But when we delivered our nasturtium microgreens to our chefs, some of them love to get them as small as possible, but some wants bigger first leaves (meaning more bigger circle)
Of course, you are also free to store your nasturtium microgreens after harvesting them. It might be best to enjoy them while they are fresh but you may not be able to finish up all of your nasturtium microgreens after harvesting them. That’s why it is best to make sure that you store them properly.
Keeping the nasturtium microgreens in an airtight container and refrigerating them will allow them to last for up to 5 days. You may also want to add a paper towel or absorbent pad inside the container to keep the greens dry enough so that they will last longer.
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