Saturday, April 3, 2010

Seed Grow Project

I'm participating in the Seed Grow Project, sponsored by Renee's Garden. We're growing this fiery nasturtium from seed and blogging about it. For more information on the project and links to participants' posts, visit the GROW project.

I've never grown nasturtiums. I had been thinking trellis, now I'm thinking spiller. Maybe both? What do you think? A few may show up in the veggie garden, mingling with peas and cucumbers.

Seeds in the mail! That's always a thrill, even more so when they're free seeds. In the envelope with the nasturtiums, Renee included a bonus packet of cosmos. Last fall our two largest silver maples were limbed up and back from the roof of the house. The garden will receive more sun this year. It will be fun to experiment with cosmos in the sunniest spots.

We've had a warmer-than-average late March and early April. That means our heat hasn't been going on as much as usual this time of year, and the basement is a mite cool for starting seeds. Pepper seeds started almost three weeks ago were languishing unsprouted. Last March was chillier, the heat was running more and the basement was warm. Last March, peppers sprouted within days.

Peppers, and many other seeds, require warm temperatures for sprouting. I don't have a heat mat. The warm top of the fridge can be a frugal alternative. Here's a spot to experiment with . . .

Instantly, (almost,) they sprouted.

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


  1. Girl, I love the idea of using the top of the computer... though mine seems to be cool. :( Aunt Debbi uses the top of her dryer to star tomatoes... but she has 3 kids and must do laundry often. Living only with lifeforms that do not wear clothes, I only do laundry maybe one every 2 weeks... and my ~20-year-old dryer isn't perfectly balanced so anything sitting on it as it runs tends to slide off. I was going to say, especially if you don't have a ton of sun, nasturtiums also make fine edging plants in beds. I had them at Cobblestone Farm, around the edge of a circular bed & they never got real crazy due to lack of sun and only getting rain water. I love your idea of adding them in the veggie garden, though, and I will do that. Apparently, their blooms are also edible!

  2. Hi Linda, What fun. My imac hasn't a top to put a seed tray...But, we've had the warmest April in a very long time so germination outside is fine...but watering is a twice a day or more occurance at 84F!

    I am sun challenged, too...The sunniest parts of my garden are the shallowest soil sitting on limestone bedrock! Vinca loves it! I've been thinking the solution for me is to build raised beds in those sunny spots and gardening in containers that get placed on the driveway.

    Looking forward to seeing those nasturtiums in your garden.


  3. How inventive of you! Some Nasturtiums are trailing and some compact. I have the Jewel blend sitting in front of me and it says they are compact. I really did want trailing but I will put them in the raised bed vegetable garden anyway.

    I know the variety I have will probably get that ugly black plague.


  4. Love the idea of using the top of the computer! Never thought of that.

    I'm going back and forth about how to grow mine, too. I'm pretty sure I'm planting them in containers, but I'm not sure if I want to grow them up a trellis for a more vertical look or let them spill over the edges of a container. Maybe I'll do both. Decisions, decisions :-)

  5. I planted mine as soon as possible after they came in the mail, indoors in containers. They've moved outside now in a place where they get filtered sun.

    The big issue here is hot weather, so I'm growing them as spillers and we'll see how long they can survive when triple digit temps arrive in June.

  6. Hi Monica, my computer's in a slot in the desk, and that keeps the heat more concentrated (probably not great for the computer - I leave the door open when it's on or it would probably get too hot.)

    Thanks for the tip on using nasturtiums for edging. I don't think there are many edges left unplanted here, but I'm sure I can squeeze a few in!

    I've never tasted nasturtiums, but understand they're kind of peppery. I'm sure I'll be tasting them.

    Hi Gail, April so far has been warm here too, but it's unlikely to stay that way. We have until mid-May before it's safe to start most frost-tender stuff outside.

    I'm sold on raised beds - go for it! They're so easy to maintain. I love being able to choose what kind of soil and amendments to build them from. The effort making a raised a bed is well worth it for the results. It should be interesting putting the nasturtiums in our shady garden. According to the seed packet they can be in full-to-part sun - part sun especially in warm climates. It's nice to experiment with free stuff - no risk, just a little time.

    Hi Eileen, 'Spitfire' is a climber (or a trailer without a trellis.)

    I hope your nasturtiums are nice and healthy and give you some pretty, and tasty blooms.

    Hi Colleen, well, you know they say necessity is the mother of invention! Now that the peppers are going, I'm using the top of the computer tower for more seedlings that have been slow getting started. This time of year I can use all the space I can get!

    More and more, I'm thinking both. I think I'll try Monica's idea too, and put a few in the ground in the border. Fun, fun, fun!

    Hi Nell Jean, I'm looking forward to seeing how your nasturtiums do. I hope they thrive for you.

    Around here we never know. We usually do get our share of 90 degrees and above over the summer, but some summers are cooler/hotter than others. I hope the shade helps them last longer here. I'm interested to see how well they'll bloom in part sun. It would be awesome if they thrive - one more variety of blooming annual for the garden here would be great. There aren't a lot of choices that work well here with our limited sunlight.

  7. I grow climbing nasturtiums every year. Love them.

    I don't know what yours will be like but mine have been very exuberant in the leaf department (as well as in the flowering). Very lovely leaves they are too but big . . . and lots of them . . . so I'd be reluctant to mix them in with peas.

    Do you have cabbage white butterflies? Their caterpillars strip the flesh off nasturtium leaves leaving spidery skeletons. I like them like that too.


  8. I would say trellis and spiller as uses for the nasturtiums! I am growing those same cosmos from Renee's Garden, and I am excited to see how yours do too!

  9. Hi Esther, thanks for the tips!

    I think by the time the nasturtiums get big enough to be competition, the peas would be almost done producing. With our hot summers, peas start getting crispy and quit producing around mid-to-late June.

    We do get cabbage butterflies here, although I haven't noticed much damage on nasturtiums at the nursery down the street. If they chew the leaves on the ones I grow, now at least I'll know who is the culprit - thanks!

    Hi Rose, I think this project will be fun - it's going to be cool comparing notes with others who are growing these nasturtiums and cosmos.

  10. You're braver than I! I would be worried that water or condensation from the seed starting container might damage my computer.

  11. I was planning on trellising all of them-- I tend not to do climbing plants, so this is a new thing. But now reading all of these I think I might do some trailing over a low wall that I've got as well.

  12. Hi Fern, no worries - the condensation is well contained inside the trays I'm using. If there's any moisture escaping, it's negligible. It's a good point though, and if anyone wants to try this, I'd suggest only using only water-tight, covered trays - nothing with drain holes of course. And I definitely wouldn't water anything without moving it away from the computer first.

    Hi Xan, one cool thing about this being a group project is we can get ideas from each other. I like the idea of letting them trail over a wall!

  13. Ha, there is no room on top of my PC - it's full of random stuff like every other bit of surface area in the house! I haven't decided yet how I'm going to grow my nasturtiums but I have a lot of options and a lot of seeds. I think I'm still not convinced that I'm going to get real live plants; I'm the worst seed-starter ever (though I do have two sprouts in the milk jug!).

  14. Anonymous5:25 PM

    Ha! I love that you put them on top of the PC tower. I like to use the top of the fridge for seeds because it is out of reach for the kids and kind of warm up there.

  15. Last year was the first year I planted cosmos and nasturtiums, and after they grew I wondered why I'd never planted these old-fashioned favorites before. I loved them, and they both did so well. I'm not participating in this project, but I did get some free seeds from Renee's, too, so we may be growing some of the same varieties this year, Linda.

    I've noticed my basement is chillier this year, too, and I've been trying to think of ways to add some warmth without splurging on heat mats. Now, there's a great way to use your computer!:)

  16. I've never grown nasturtiums but they always look so nice in photos. If time permits, maybe this will be a good year to experiment with them.

  17. Never thought of the PC as a heat mat! Have to be careful - water and PC don't mix. ;)

  18. My laptop tends to get hot...I could seriously sprout seeds on it. but i don't want laptop to overheat and croak.... ;)

  19. Linda, gardeners are so very clever! You might want to rethink your 'spiller' idea unless you have a very large container. I grew nasturtiums in my whiskey half barrel last year as a spiller and they took over. I also grew some in the ground and those spread very nicely along the edge of the bed. Either way, I am sure you will enjoy their almost continuous blooming.

  20. Yay for winter. . . er, spring sowing Diane! I'm glad your milk jug seeds are sprouting. I just started a few in a container in the basement this morning. Nasturtium seeds are big!

    MBT, it's working! Now that the peppers have sprouted I have baptisia seeds there. I had just about given up on them after a month. Even after soaking them in hot water for a couple of days they weren't popping, but the computer's heat is doing the trick.

    I've heard the top of the fridge works well, but ours doesn't seem very warm.

    Hi Rose, I'm looking forward to growing them. I hope we have enough sun for a good show.

    I think the basement's cold because the weather's warmer than usual and the heat's not going on. Our basement is toasty in the winter, and usually warm in the spring too, but this year the warmth is outside!

    Hi Marnie, I hope they're as nice in person as they are in photos! I'm looking forward to tasting them too!

    No worries Dave - my seed starting containers have covers and nothing's leaking. I wouldn't risk damaging the computer.

    Hi GardenMom, I don't blame you for not wanting to use a laptop for starting seeds.

    Thanks for the tip Beckie. Since I've never grown them before, and since I'm not sure how well they'll do with not much sun, I'll probably experiment and try them in more than one situation. I hope they bloom continuously here - I'll have to see it to believe it. If nasturtiums like our less-than-optimal sun, they will definitely be added to my short list of annuals for shade.

  21. The computer would be a nice warm place, but you'd have to be careful with the watering. I started a bunch of seeds last week and my zinnia have already begun sprouting. I guess I'll have to get those lights set up soon.

  22. Welcome spring and nasturtiums, my favorite edible flower, Linda. Good luck in the garden!

  23. Well, the computer solution is just too cute! We've never done nasturtium in the greenhouse and the complexity of germination might be the reason :) Good luck!

  24. :-)
    Lucky for us we do have a heating mat for our seedlings.

  25. What awesome ideas! :)

    I live in an apartment and I'm looking for ideas to grow veggies and fruits. I just ordered a dwarf banana tree and some strawberry and other plants. Now that I think of it, I may have to warm some of the seeds. Clever!

  26. Hi,
    I used to always have nasturtiums in my veggie garden. I like the big seeds that little hands (children) can plant.Toss them in a salad.

  27. Hi Cinj, I definitely wouldn't water anywhere near the computer. Since the seed-starting containers are sealed, the moisture stays inside pretty well, and the seeds don't really need much watering. If they do, I take them to the kitchen to water and make sure the containers are dry before putting them back.

    Thanks Joey! Maybe nasturtiums will be my new favorite edible flower. (That will be easy, since I haven't really eaten flowers before.)

    Thank you Tamara. I'm not sure it's hard to germinate them. I think they just take a little time. Peppers were my stubborn germinators this year - too cool in the basement where I start seedlings. The computer is working too for baptisia seeds - they're stubborn if they're not started soon after harvesting them.

    You are lucky Victoria!

    Thank you C. L.! Good for you, growing some edibles! Best of luck with your apartment garden!

    I'm definitely going to try the blossoms in a salad Balisha! Since this is a climbing nasturtium, I think they'll be nice on the trellis. I might try them to edge the veggies too. When I saw the size of those seeds, I thought the same thing - great for little hands. Maybe I'll plant some with my grandson!

  28. Oh seeds in the post, how wonderful. I am having a go at nasturtiums for the first time too. Mine will go in around the edges of the kitchen garden, tucked in various dry spaces amid the odds and ends of flowers which self seed.


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