How Thomas Jefferson Ate Salad

April 26th:

nasturtium in april

May 29th:


Nasturtium is the first flower I grew successfully in my Florida garden. In fact, it may have been the only flower I grew successfully in my Florida garden, so it was a no-brainer to include it in this year’s Oklahoma garden. It’s also edible – the flowers, the leaves. I wouldn’t encourage you to eat nasturtium in place of…oh, fish tacos or buffalo chicken pizza or something, but I have eaten it just to say that I did. I wasn’t wowed.

So why did I grow it? Because you have to be a real moron to mess these up. Almost any garden is guaranteed to be a success with nasturtium. Besides, they remind me of doll-sized lily pads and the flowers are so bright and colorful.


Thomas Jefferson was also a big fan of nasturtium. It’s been reported that Jefferson, who knew a thing or two about plants, was a little disappointed when he ran out of nasturtium seeds before filling his 30′ x 57′ garden bed. Beginning in 1774, or at least this was its earliest recording, these flowers were a staple in Jefferson’s vegetable garden. They were used to spice up the salads (which I must admit I’m surprised to learn were a “thing” back then). He was apparently keen on a particular trailing variety. Project Find Jefferson’s Trailing Nasturtium has begun.

I’m now half-tempted to create a miniature Monticello in my backyard. It could work.

3 thoughts on “How Thomas Jefferson Ate Salad

  1. I guess it’s true. I’m a moron. I have trouble growing nasturtium. I don’t think it likes full sun in Florida. I’ve had more luck in shade but nothing along the lines of that whole row you are growing.

      • I’m successful with a LOT of other seeds. I’ve grown all my coneflowers, shasta daisies and Tithonia from seed. Not to mention others. I just can’t do nasturtium or red hot poker.

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