The Veg Plot

Bunch of fives: nasturtium

Young Nasturtium Plant

We wouldn’t usually donate precious space to flowers, but here are five reasons why we’ve planted nasturtiums on our allotment

1. Pest control
Nasturtiums are a magnet for aphids, such as black fly. The theory goes that the pests will flock to nasturtium leaves and ignore your broad beans and brassicas. They are also said to deter beetles that are fond of cucurbits (pumpkins, cucumbers, etc), and apple tree enemy the coddling moth.

2. They’re edible
The leaves can be chopped up in a salad and have a genuinely tasty, peppery flavour. Providing they’re not smothered with black fly. And you’ve probably seen a few of those posh telly chefs tarting up dishes with their edible flowers.

3. They look nice
There’s nothing wrong with a few big, bright orange, red and yellow flowers cheering up the patch. Is there?

4. They’re easy to grow
So easy that if you buy a packet of seeds they’re likely to be branded for kids gardening. Our plants were taken from my garden where they self seeded. Once they get going they grow big and fast, sprawling over any old bit of earth on the plot.

5. They can be pickled
Apparently the pods can be pickled while still green. We’ll try this if we remember…

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