Nasturtiums brighten dull areas.
image by gracey: morguefile
Nasturtiums brighten the garden with a brilliant flash of color ranging from pale yellow to fiery reds and oranges. These prolific bloomers, available in both dwarf and climbing varieties, produce attractive foliage with edible blooms, making them ideal as garnish for summer salads. Planted along a fence or trellis, or against natural rock outcropping, these delightful flowers bloom for prolonged periods from midsummer until frost. Dwarf varieties make wonderful garden borders or edges for walkways. Their light spicy fragrance provides delicate scent to a seating area.
Plant nasturtiums in late spring after the danger of frost. An area that receives 6 or more hours of sun per day is ideal. Locations that receive bright morning light and some filtered shade in mid-afternoon encourage vigorous growth and abundant blooming.
Prepare soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Remove any rocks or plant debris and rake smooth. A soil test to determine the needs of the soil is advised, if you are gardening in a new area. Nasturtiums require average well-drained soil with a pH between 6.1 and 7.8.
Add scant amounts of fertilizer or manure. Nasturtiums do not require overly-rich soil and produce an abundance of foliage with reduced blooms if they are fertilized too heavily.
Sow seeds to a depth of ½ inch spaced 12 to 18 inches apart. Cover with loose soil and firm down with your hands to remove air pockets. Water to thoroughly moisten the soil to a depth of 2 inches. Keep soil moist until seedlings emerge in 7 to 10 days.