Nasturtiums are the first in a series of plant profiles I’ve created as part of my assessments for a Permaculture Diploma through Riverina TAFE. My intention is that I’ll eventually copy all of the plant profiles along with other assessments to my blog, in order to keep track of what I’ve done and share information with others.
As a child I spent lot’s of time with my hands in the soil helping grow or tend the plants my grandparents grew at their urban and rural farms. I vividly recall planting flowers each spring in my grandparents suburban front yard, while an entire side was devoted to growing a variety of vegetables which I’d help pick for the nightly meal. On our almost fortnightly visits to my other grandparents farm, we’d help with whatever stage of the vegetable growing process was occurring from planting seeds in greenhouses to planting seedlings into the paddock and later harvesting and packing. My Nanna would take us foraging for blackberries or mushrooms in the top paddock and occasionally we’d swap our vegetables for a box of fruit from the neighbors. I was blessed to be able to grow up experiencing the best of both suburban and country life. Sadly in my teen years my grandparents who had once lived in the same suburb as me moved away to the coast and it was decided that the farm would no longer be operational.
It’s little wonder that the call to put my hands in the soil and grow something stayed with me beyond my grandparents homes, it had been such a big part of my formative years. One of the first things I grew for myself at my families suburban home were Nasturtiums in a little garden under my bedroom window. I marveled at the brightly colored flowers which I often foraged along with, leaves and seeds to add to salads. Nasturtiums where also my first foray into seed saving, I’d wait for the seeds to dry and carefully collect them, saving some for myself and passing others on to my grandfather and friends. For me Nasturtiums were a reminder of hope, they reconnected me to nature when the connections I had where lost. These memories along with it’s ease to grow and the multiple functions of this plant makes it one of my favorites.