Sunday, June 6, 2010

A twisted nose

The nasturtiums are leafing out nicely. No flowers as of yet, but enough foliage to let me harvest a few leaves for a taste. Whooo-wee! Does that clear the nostrils! The nasturtium entry in Alan Davidson's essential Oxford Companion to Food remarks that the taste is similar to watercress, which is all well and good, yet he goes on to caution that the leaves should be used sparingly. That should have raised alarm bells prior to tasting these leaves.

Davidson also reports that the name means 'twisted nose' in Latin -- and no wonder! This is pungent stuff -- closer to horseradish and wasabi than arugula or watercress. I could maybe see myself tucking a few leaves into a roast beef sandwich, or rolling up some slivers in homemade sushi for a wasabi-like kick. But these zingers aren't going into my green salads -- the tender garden lettuces would be overwhelmed. I look forward to the blossoms to see if they are more or less pungent than their leafy predecessors.

On a horticultural note, the nasturtiums remained virtually untouched by pests, until a few nights ago when these little holes appeared in several leaves. I don't actually see any bugs, just their wake of (minimal) destruction. Any ideas? flea beetles, perhaps?

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


  1. I wish I could tell you which bug is was because then I'd know what attacked mine. They were doing great then a few of them were munched down to stems. They seem to be recuperating okay and new leaves are being grown.

  2. You piqued my interest and I munched on a leaf today.
    Now my nose is twisted, too.

    I think I'll wait for the blooms.

  3. You'll be pleased to know that the flowers are not quite as pungent as the leaves. But still mighty peppery, just right in garden fresh salads me thinks. But I like the regular clump forming "nasties" better, my 'Spitfire' just doesn't have the vigor I like seeing in viners/climbers. I've no blooms on mine yet, and really don't care much how it trails out the pot I have it in, for my main focus has switched from seeing how it grows to wanting to harvest the flowers for salads.