Not only does this easy-to-grow herb makes an attractive addition to the garden but its medicinal value, soil building properties, and rich flavour make it a herb you won't want to miss digging in!
A Word About Fenugreek
Fenugreek, also known as 'Methi' is a member of the legume family. Both the seeds and the leaves of this plant are edible. Seeds are used as a spice, dried leaves as a herb, and fresh leaves as a green leafy vegetable. This versatile plant is used for cooking, spices, cosmetics, soaps, and even medicines.
Fenugreek seeds are well known for their medicinal properties including relieving joint pain, lowering blood sugar level, and restoring hair growth. Fenugreek is a useful crop that helps to fix nitrogen in the soil, an important nutrient for plant growth. Fenugreek is a nitrogen-fixing plant that is able to grow lush and green even in low-quality soil. This plant improves the quality of the soil for other plants by the addition of nitrogen.
How To Grow Methi At Home
Growing fenugreek (methi) is the most rewarding of all kinds of gardening experiences as they grow fast – from seed to harvest taking as less as 30 days time. Let’s learn how to grow fenugreek at home.
Preparation Comes First
Pick a sunny spot with partial shade to grow your fenugreek plant. They need a daily dose of 4-5 hours of direct sunlight. Fenugreek can be planted in your garden or a container. Fenugreek plant does not prefer to be transplanted, so either plan to plant them in a spot where they'll mature from the beginning, or try using a biodegradable pot that you can plant into the ground later.
The plant prospers in warm soil so the best time to grow your plant in North India is around March - April to October to November, whereas in South India, you can almost grow them all year round.
To increase the germination rate, soak the seeds overnight by placing them in a cup filled with room temperature water. Drain the water the next morning before planting and you’re all set to grow fenugreek.
Let’s Get Growing
Pick a container or a spot where you want to grow your greens. Sprinkle the seeds evenly on the soil and cover them properly with 1/4 inch of soil. Water your seeds in the soil to facilitate the germination of seeds. Ensure that the soil is evenly moist, any excess water should quickly drain away. Do not overwater the plant, waterlogged soil can impede the growth of the plant.
The plant will be ready to harvest within 3-4 weeks of planting. You'll know when to harvest the produce by the height of the plant, which should grow about 6 inches tall.
Fenugreek can be easily grown in pots, containers or even grow bags. Plant seeds in a pot and place them on a sunny windowsill, on the balcony or in your patio garden. This herb is a shallow-rooted plant, so you won't need a deep container. Use a wide planter around 6-8 inches deep with good drainage. Hedge Hogger Junior will make a perfect planter for growing fenugreek as its fabric material facilitates water drainage.
Fill the planter with 2/3 of potting mix and 1/3 compost. Sprinkle seeds evenly on the top and add 1/4 inch thin layer of soil to cover your seeds. Your plant is now good to grow!
Pick Fenugreek & More Leafy Green Seeds To Grow In Your Garden Today
Managing Pest And Diseases
Fenugreek isn't prone to pests and diseases, but there are a few you need to watch out for.
Insects don’t pose much of a problem for fenugreek, except for one particular creepy-crawler called aphids. These are small sap-sucking pests feeding on the juices of the tender parts of the plant, affecting the growth. Try spraying some neem oil to combat the infestation.
In warm weather conditions, if your plants aren't thriving then it could be because of the following diseases:
This fungus affects the lower leaves and causes yellowing, wilting, and stunted growth. Plants that succumb to this disease will eventually die. Planting them in well-drained soil will reduce the risk of rot.
These white powdery spots might appear on the lower and the upper surfaces of leaves, flowers and other parts during the later stage of the plant's life. Apply neem oil if you spot these white spots.
This fungus can cause the leaves of the plant to wilt and drop. To prevent this disease incorporate organic manure and maintain moisture level by mulching.
Fenugreek plant leaves will be ready to harvest within 30 to 40 days of sowing. Snip off the top third of the mature stems carefully allowing the rest to continue growing. This will encourage branching facilitating flowering and seed production later.
After trimming, the leaves will regrow in 15 days. You can continue harvesting the leaves until the plant begins to flower. Seed harvest will take a little more patience. You will be able to collect the fenugreek seeds (methi) after 3-5 months of planting. The seeds will develop between small pods, each pod containing about 15-17 seeds. Peel them open to reveal the seeds yellowish-brown inside.
Health Benefits of Fenugreek
This legume is not only flavourful but has a lot of health benefits as well:
Helps With Diabetes:
Fenugreek has been beneficial for patients with diabetes. It helps in lowering blood glucose levels and improves glucose tolerance. When taken with other antidiabetic medicines, fenugreek helps in reducing the cholesterol levels and improving the glucose control of patients with diabetes.
Add fenugreek to your diet and get control over diabetes.
Fenugreek Promotes Breast Milk Production:
Fenugreek has a reputation to help increase breastmilk production. It is said that fenugreek seeds influence dopamine levels and hormones, which can help improve breast milk production and therefore contribute to healthy weight gain in babies.
Other Health Benefits:
Fenugreek is also known for other health benefits like relieving menstrual pain, appetite control and controlling cholesterol levels.
Delicious, medicinal, soil-enriching, this legume herb really has it all. Make it a part of your home garden and get this flavorful herb to add a distinctive flavour to your dishes.