Can we call this a case of "companion planting" that works?
I think so!
The latest sign of Spring that has finally Sprung in our North Natomas suburban farm is this test companion planting of garlic and nasturtiums in one of the raised beds near the back fence. This wasn't a mistake folks. Venus planted nasturtium seeds and garlic cloves at the same time last fall just to see "what happened."
And this is the show we're getting at the moment. It's just beginning too. For the longest time -- Venus was concerned that the large nasturtium plants growing within the garlic were not going to flower. But that thinking has changed just within the past week.
In other words -- the show is just getting started.
This isn't the only garlic and onion bed where Venus mixed in some nasturtium seed last fall -- but it does appear to be the most successful. The nasturtium plants have grown so large now that they're popping out of the garlic bed.
All appears to be well.
Score a big assist to fellow gardener Carri Stokes on this rather surprising development. I wasn't aware you could even grow nasturtium in Sacramento. Although it's a common sight on the coast of California (some might even call it a weed) -- I thought our climate was just a tad too hot for nasturtium to do well here.
Obviously -- I thought wrong. Carri informed us that she had successfully grown it from seed. We saw the proof in Carri's yard last spring. So -- Venus set about planting her own little nasturtium patch last fall.
Venus' favorite? So far -- that would have to be the "Creamsicle" variety sold in seed packets from Renee's Garden. "Flower treasures for the eye & heart," the packet claims. I guess I can't argue much.
As for me? I tend to like the sharper colors in the mounding "Cherries Jubilee," also offered through Renee's Garden. Venus and I picked up both packets last fall while shopping for seed garlic at Peaceful Valley Farm Supply in Nevada City.
What's the most unique thing about Nasturtium? Obviously -- it's more than just a pretty flower. These are EDIBLE flowers folks. Yes -- you heard me right -- you pull them right off the vine and eat them on the spot. Or -- you can save them to decorate the salad offering later that night.
What's that? What do they taste like? Well -- I suppose you have to try one and find out for yourself!
I'm not sure just how much of a show or harvest that we will get from this little "planting experiment." At some point -- the Sacramento summer gets to be just a tad too much for nasturtium. Like the artichoke plants that are planted nearby -- they will take on a rather unhappy look -- whither -- and eventually perish.
But -- score one for a companion planting experiment for now. Garlic + Nasturtium = SUCCESS!