Sharing with you all how to grow fenugreek, also known as methi which is used widely in Indian dishes. Fenugreek leaves are delicious in curries like potato and tasty in spiced flatbreads. The leaves have a nutty flavour and a handful of chopped fenugreek will transform your curry. You can also add some fresh leaves to salads but I personally prefer them cooked.
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Grow Fenugreek from Seeds
Fenugreek is easy to grow from seeds and I use the seeds from my spice box. You can buy them from most supermarkets and Asian shops here in the UK, plus fenugreek seeds are available online too.
- You can soak the seeds overnight in cold water in a small bowl. This will speed up the germination time. However, I usually sow seeds without soaking as I am not in any hurry!
- In a deep pot, planter or raised bed, sprinkle your seeds on the surface of the compost. I use multipurpose compost and find it is great for growing fenugreek. If you’re using a pot or a planter, it is a good idea to gently firm sown the compost. You can sow pretty thickly, no need to worry about spacing as you can always pull out the overcrowding seedlings … and eat them of course!
- Cover with about 1 cm layer of compost so that the seeds cannot be seen.
- Water gently.
- The seeds should germinate easily within a week to 10 days. If you have sown thickly, you may see sections of the top compost layer being lifted. Don’t worry, this is just the combined force of the seedlings pushing through and great fun to watch.
- Water as needed as this depends on the weather conditions.
- You can thin them out once the plants are about 5 cm tall and eat the young plants you remove! This means you pull out some of the young plants so that the rest can have more room to grow. You can allow fenugreek plants to grow about 1-2 cm apart. They have deep roots so they will not mind being this close.
- Keep the compost only lightly moist as I have found that fenugreek does not like it too wet – the leaves may start turning yellow and growth will be affected.
Harvesting Fenugreek Leaves
That’s it! Keep picking the leaves as and when you need them. Of course, do not strip all the leaves off in one go but leave a few behind and these plants will keep growing.
Once the plants mature or it turns very warm, you will see seed pods forming. I tend to leave these till they turn brown and then harvest them. Dry them completely indoors, and when you pop them open you will find the characteristic brown coloured seeds. These are edible and you can add them to curries, or save them as seeds for the next sowing!
Where and When to Grow Fenugreek
You can easily grow fenugreek outdoors in mid spring, summer and early autumn here in the UK. Feel free to grow it if you have a balcony, patio or raised beds in the warmer months. However, fenugreek does not enjoy hot sunny locations and it will quickly start flowering and producing seeds. Therefore, a part shaded space is great in the warmer months.
Pots, planters and tubs are great but they should have holes at the bottom for good water drainage. Also, use containers that are not shallow as fenugreek love to grow deep roots.
I also grow fenugreek right through winter in my cold greenhouse. You can also grow it a sheltered porch or balcony, where it can be protected from frost, as it is not frost hardy. However, seeds need to be sown by early autumn so that they have germinated and well on their way before winter begins!
Hope you will be sprinkling a few fenugreek seeds for some delicious harvests soon!