Monday, May 31, 2010

The Happy Nasties

What a difference a month makes! In case you missed it, here's what this pot looked like last month. Started in the basement under lights, the first nasturtiums were spindly and sad. During the past month, three of the original sad nasties expired. The three that remain have sprouted more leaves, and look much better. The seedlings started after the pot went outdoors are much happier and healthier-looking, and even cover the spindliness of the lower stems of the older ones.

Having never grown nasturtiums before, starting them in the basement was a learning experience. What not to do: Don't try to get a jump on the season with nasturtium seeds by starting them indoors. Even my expensive, high-powered sodium grow light doesn't provide the right light to produce sturdy, happy nastie seedlings. While adequate for stocky veggie seedlings, and overwintering tropical and tender plants grow and bloom happily under the light, nasturtium seedlings seem to need natural, full-spectrum sunlight for healthy growth.

Now that that's settled, I'm enjoying the cute round leaves on the happy nasties, and looking forward to buds and blooms.

I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project. Thanks to Renee's Garden for the seeds.


  1. Hi Linda, They ARE looking a lot better (just like may have said they would, HA!). I do love the leaves and the way the leaf veins meet in that cute little center dot. Noogie! It was supposed to rain here this morning, which my garden sorely needs, but it didn't. Have a happy holiday! <3

  2. Hi Monica, yes, MUCH better - thanks for the reassurance. The leaves are very cute. I'm looking forward to seeing buds and flowers later.

    I'm sorry you missed the rain. We needed some here too, and got a little, with lots of thunder and lightning, last night after midnight. The hundreds of silver maple seedlings that sprouted overnight are very happy. There's more rain in the forecast this week - great for the gardens, not so good for staying caught up with business, which is booming recently.

    Happy Memorial Day!

  3. Your nasties are definitely looking happy, and now I feel better that my rather spindly ones will improve with a little time :-) Can't wait to start seeing blooms!

  4. I haven't had any luck with seed starting them. A local nursery sells them, but don't you think $2.99 a pot is ridiculous! I love the incredible orange ones! gail

  5. PS I was ranting and forgot to say~Glad they are doing well for you! gail

  6. Your nasturtiums are where mine were in my April 1 post, which illustrates the difference in heat zones. We even used the same color container. Mine are now history as far as the GROW project as they are quickly dying in the heat and humidity here in South Georgia.

    Nasturtiums are a cool season flower here. I'll start over in cooler weather.

  7. Thank you for sharing this experience! I'm glad I'm not the only who's struggled to start nasturtiums indoors. Your advice is great!

  8. I planted nasturtuims also, sarified and soaked, but they still have not sprouted after a week. Are they slow to germinate?


  9. Colleen, I'm sure you've already put 'em outside, and I wouldn't hesitate to add a few more seeds. New seedlings started outdoors will cover the spindliness amazingly well.

    Hi Gail, $2.99 is ridiculous, especially when you can get seeds for free ;) Seriously though, having worked part-time at a nursery, I understand the cost of the seeds, soil, pots, and care of young plants, so I think $2.99 for healthy young plants is very reasonable, especially for something like nasturtiums which some people seem to struggle with starting from seeds.

    I'm glad they're doing well too. The 'secrets' I've learned so far with the seed-starting stage are natural, outdoor light, and patience - they don't sprout quickly.

    That's a coincidence Nell Jean! Right now I have the pot on the edge of the veggie bed (it was too ugly for the shade garden, and I hoped more sun would perk the basement-started plants up.) Now that they're looking so much better, I'll move them soon to a sunny-ish spot in the shade garden. I hope they'll last longer here in some shade.

    Hi Rose, nasturtium-growing is totally new to me - I've always admired them, don't know why I've never grown them. It's already been a lot of fun learning through trial-and-error, and through the posts of the other people participating in this project. I'm glad to know my experience is helpful and reassuring to other gardeners who've tried starting nasturtiums indoors. Next time, I'll definitely wait 'til it's warm enough to start them outdoors - seems the best way to give them a good start.

    Hi Eileen, I think they are a little slow to start. I didn't do any pre-treatment to my seeds - just planted them about 1" deep and kept them moist. It took a week-10 days for all the seeds to sprout with both the indoor- and outdoor-started seeds.

  10. Hi, these leaves seem to be promising beautiful flowers! We dont have nasturtium but i know the flowers are beautiful. thanks.

  11. I still have never grown them. I always admire them in photos but just never tried them in my garden. I hope they bloom well for you.

  12. Glad to see your nasties are looking so good! I didn't even try to start some indoors--they and the cosmos seem to do so well when direct sowed outdoors, that I waited till the weather was warm enough for them. I wish I could say the same for some of my other seedlings that got so leggy--we'll see if they survive.

    I'm hoping my nasturtiums eventally look as good as yours!

  13. Hi Andrea, I'm looking forward to the bright orange blooms!

    I hope so too Marnie. I can relate, admiring them in photos. I've admired them blooming in nurseries too.

    I'm glad too Rose. Direct-sowing outdoors seems to be the way to go! I still haven't started the cosmos seeds - I'm afraid they won't bloom very well here with so little sun. But I do plan to give them a try.

    I hope your leggy seedlings do well - hopefully they'll get stockier once they're outside in natural light.

  14. Looking good! But I have to agree. Tried starting them indoors with very few actually germinating, and the ones that did seem rather stunted. I'm trying more outdoors for sure!

    I just paid $2.99 at the farmers market for some with variegated leaves - I'd never seen that before and figured I better jump on 'em.

  15. Good luck with your outdoor-sown nasties JGH.

    Oooh, I do like the ones with variegated leaves - they sometimes have them at our local nursery.

  16. I simply love that name, Nasties. Do you eat those flowers? They are pretty in salads.

  17. Hi Rosey, since this is the first time growing them, I've never eaten the flowers. Of course, I'll have to try them!

  18. Hello Linda!
    I grew these last year - they were nice. Doesn't Renee's have the best seeds?!?!?!? I love their zinnias and nigella especially.

  19. They're looking SO much better, Linda. Renee said you might want to thin them eventually but that this particular variety is okay with being a little crowded.

  20. Anonymous10:21 PM

    They're doing really good compared to the last time you posted. I was worried you weren't going to have a good experience with them...but ta-da! Here they are looking all lush.

  21. Hi Beth, yes, Renee has a wonderful seed selection! Oooh, nigella - I've never grown them, but I love blue flowers. I will try love-in-a-mist one of these years - lovely blooms, romantic (common) name, and even blooms in part sun! It's only been in the last few years I've even grow annuals much, and the selection of flats for shade/part-sun is pretty limited. Growing more annuals from seeds will be a good way for me to squeeze even more bloom out of our mostly shady garden.

    Hi Nellie, they sure are! I won't bother trying to start them indoors again, unless it's just early enough to get them sprouted and move them outside right away.

    MUCH better MBT! I don't give up easily, and all the posts from others participating in the project convinced me it's kind of a waste of time (and seeds) growing them indoors - ta da!

  22. Anonymous2:02 PM

    Nice lookin "nasties" you got there! ;~) Mine aren't lookin near as good, but I'm letting it trail instead of vine.


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