The tropeolo it is a very popular plant not only because it is an edible vegetable rich in beneficial properties but also because it helps to remove unwanted guests from our garden, such as aphids, snails and ants.
Its cultivation does not require particular cultivation practices, just a few tricks are enough. But let's see in detail how to grow the tropeolus and how we can use it.
Tropeolo, useful information for cultivation
- Terrain and location
The tropeolo it develops easily and quickly, but it needs a soil rich in nitrogen fertilizers, otherwise it will make many leaves and very few flowers: in any case, just fertilize with compost or fertilizer rich in phosphorus.
The soil should be light and airy, so add sand to the clayey soil.
The tropeolus prefers shady areas but not too much: for example under the light canopy of a tree where the sun appears or disappears, or in the east, where it gets the morning sun, which is the less strong one.
Sowing can be done from mid-May in the open ground in the vegetable garden, but if you decide to anticipate this operation, make sure to place it in a sheltered place, because the tropeolus can stand the cold. In fact, in winter in areas with low temperatures, it tends to die.
If you want to anticipate flowering you can sow in seedbeds; just get some jars containing a mixture of sand and peat. Each container must be 6-10 cm in diameter and must contain three seeds. Once you have sprouted the young plants, you will then have to eliminate the weakest ones, according to the thinning technique.
As we have already mentioned, the tropeolo it does not require special attention; just water it regularly, administer compost or earthworm humus, contain the foliage if it tends to escape everywhere and put stakes on which to climb, if it is a climbing variety: there are many species, including the bush one often used for flank the walkways.
Tropeolo, harvest and use
You can eat everything from the tropeolus: flowers, leaves, buds and seeds. The flavor of the leaves and flowers recalls that of watercress; in practice it is slightly spicy. They are used to enrich salads and flavor softer cheeses. Still green seeds or still closed buds can be preserved in vinegar and used like capers.
Tips for its use in the organic garden
Sown under fruit trees, it is effective in the fight against aphids; the same goes if sown together with potatoes, tomatoes, climbing green beans and roses. It also helps keep snails, ants and mice away.