Starting Nasturtiums for the Grow Project

Recently I started a few nasturtium seeds as a part of the Grow Project hosted by Mr. Brownthumb. Renee’s Seeds offered to send seeds for several volunteer garden bloggers to try. Each month throughout the season I’ll update you on the progress of the nasturtium seeds as they grow.

Seed Starting Mix on left, Potting Mix on the right

Today’s update is filled with mixed results. When I started the seeds I decided to experiment with seed starting medium. I planted six seeds three of which were in a commercial seed starting mix (peat, vermiculite etc.) and the other three were in a commercial potting mix. Both sets of seeds were put in peat pots for easy planting later in the garden. I hope to plant a few directly in the vegetable garden as a companion planting option once the frosts have past.

Nasturtium Seedling

Nasturtium sprout

The results find definite favor with the seed starting mix. All three of the nasturtiums have germinated in the seed starting mix while none have emerged from the potting mix. Both sets of pots received the same water and the same treatment in the same location. For watering I put each of the pots in a foil carryout container and bottom watered after putting just a little water directly into the pots. I’ve kept them in the same location as my tomato plantings and under lights. Nasturtiums don’t need light to germinate and in fact need planted about an 1/2 an inch to an inch deep. As I mention before, when all danger of frost is past I’ll direct sow some out in the garden and pray that the rabbits don’t find them! That’s what happened to the nasturtiums I planted last year.Where’s Elmer Fudd when you need him?

Tomato Plants

Companion Planting
As a companion plant nasturtiums are said to deter squash bugs (I needed them last year!) and a few other insects in the vegetable garden. They can also be used as a trap crop as reported by Forest Garden Girl. I’ll be planting a few of the seeds near the squash plants in my raised beds to help prevent those squash bugs. Radishes are said to help against the squash vine borer but I can’t verify that yet – needless to say radishes, nasturtiums and squash will make for an interesting planting combination this year!

I’m growing Nasturtium “Spitfire” for the GROW project. Thanks, to Renee’s Garden for the seeds.

9 Replies to “Starting Nasturtiums for the Grow Project”

  1. I have to hunt squash bugs on a very regular basis. Never heard that nasturtiums deter them. I'll have to give that a try this year.

  2. Nasturtiums supposedly are hated by rabbits. It actually says this on my package. There are many plants that are advertised as rabbit proof. I have yet to find one! I am trying garlic this year also, another experiment.

  3. I plant radishes around other plants to deter flea beetles – seems to help. I'll have to start some nasturtiums. Good post

  4. Just thought I would chime in on the Nasturtium-Aphid dilemma. Unlike Marigolds, but similarly to Calendula (pot marigold) Nasturtiums DO NOT deter Aphids. They ATTRACT them. It is a good idea to plant Nasturtiums near your garden, not in it; or have Nasturtiums in pots that you can set by a plant as a trap when aphids appear on it; then you can remove the Nasturtiums when they are infested and hopefully all of the aphids with them.

    Hope this helps!

  5. I've planted Nasturtiums in my window boxes that are mounted on the front of my shed {it looks like a little house}. My planting spot is maybe 50/60' away, think that will help with the squash bug situation?
    Some how those combination plantings work as they have for centuries.
    People back then had to get as much as they could in a small space.
    Hope you all had a great Easter.

  6. Dave,

    Interesting observation in the seed mix versus the potting mix.

    Congrats on the seedlings you've got so far.

  7. Nasturtiums seem to be the one plant I seem to be able to grow most anywhere. 🙂 If you recall, I even had luck growing them in a Bailey's bottle.

    When I had a much larger garden and was able to grow lots of veggies as well as favourite bloomers, my research told me that nasturtiums do well as companion plants to many plants, especially cucurbits (melons, cucumbers, gourds), beans, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage. They help deter aphids, cabbage loopers, squash bugs, white fly, and cucumber beetles…and probably more that I can't recall.

    So good luck with your seedlings!

  8. I've had the same experience with seed starting mix versus potting soil. I think potting soil is designed to drain quickly, and it doesn't hold water well enough. I think potting mix is also a bit more acidic than potting mix, and a lot of seeds like that when they're getting started.

  9. Hi there! It would be great to visit my site where you could find organic seeds gathered in the wild or from small local growths (heirloom).

    Maybe there is not big variety, but this is because all seeds are checked one by one, in order to ensure that they are natural organic with good germination. Tested and packed for 2012.

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