Fenugreek is an herb famous for its aromatic seeds and leaves. People in Egypt, India, and the Middle East have known how to grow fenugreek since ancient times. The seeds are the most favored parts, with slightly sweet and spicy sensations. However, you can also use the leaves for vegetables.
Planting fenugreek is easy, and you can do it in a planter or home garden. This guide will help you planting fenugreek at home to get its health benefits.
1. Requirements to Plant Fenugreek
Fenugreek planting does not need difficult requirements. You can grow it indoor or outdoor, and in tropical or subtropical areas. Here are several requirements to make your fenugreek happy:
Fenugreek loves neutral soil with rich nutrients. The ideal pH is between 6.0 and 7.0. However, fenugreek can also handle slightly acidic soil, with a pH below 6.4. The soil must be slightly loose with good drainage.
Fenugreek enjoys partial shades, but you must give it four hours of sunlight every day. If your garden does not have an ideal spot for such a lighting arrangement, you can plant the herb in a pot.
Regular watering, but not excessive
Fenugreek loves regular watering, but too much moisture can cause the root to rot. If you grow fenugreek indoor, make sure to use a pot with drainage holes.
Once the requirements are fulfilled, you can enjoy the refreshing sight of the fenugreek plant at home.
2. Steps to Grow Fenugreek in the Garden
Before growing fenugreek in the garden, make sure to find a spot that provides partial shade, with three to four hours of daily sunlight. You must also choose the time when the soil is warm.
Here are the steps to sow the seeds directly on the ground:
Prepare the seeds
Growing fenugreek from seed is recommended. Germinate the seeds by soaking them in room-temperature water overnight. Drain the water before planting the seeds immediately.
Prepare the soil
Dig the soil as deep as 12 inches (25 cm) and mix it with organic compost. If the soil does not have good drainage quality, mix it with river sand. Dig ¼ inch-deep holes for the seeds. Do this while waiting for the seeds to germinate.
Plant the seeds
Pour your seeds into the holes and cover them with the soil. Don’t pat the soil too tightly, but make sure all the seeds are buried.
Maintain regular watering to keep your fenugreek happy, but don’t overwater the plants. You can use the slow-drip method to keep the herbs well-watered without flooding them.
3. Steps to Plant Fenugreek Indoor
Growing fenugreek indoors requires similar steps to the previous part. Germinate the seeds by soaking them overnight and fill the container with potting soil. Use a shallow planter or pot, at least 6 inches high. The container must have good drainage holes in the bottom (you can put a saucer or tray underneath).
Dig a ¼ inch-deep hole for your seeds. Make sure the hole is wide enough, so you can sprinkle the seeds all over. Bury them with the remaining soil and pat it loosely. Water the seeds regularly.
4. Maintenance and Harvest Fenugreek
Fenugreek is a fast-growing herb, and you will start seeing sprouts after several days. Aside from regular watering, your herbs require almost nothing. However, if you plant fenugreek in the garden, you may face common pest problems, such as slugs, birds, aphids, and mildew. Burying the seeds properly is enough to keep birds away, but you may need to use organic pesticide/fungicide.
Fenugreek leaves are ready to harvest after 20 days since planting, or when they reach 6 inches of height. You can pull the herbs out of the soil. If you want to keep the herbs growing, cut the tops with small scissors. If you plan to harvest the seeds, wait until you see the pods. Harvest them when they turn yellow (but before they burst open).
5. How to Use Fenugreek Leaves and Seeds
Fenugreek, especially the seeds, contain rich fiber, iron, manganese, and magnesium. One tablespoon of the seeds contains 6 grams of carb, but almost no fat. The seeds have aromatic, slightly hot flavor, with a little sweet undertone. They can also serve as a natural thickening agent. The leaves are great to eat as vegetables
Fenugreek seeds are famous as natural supplements to increase breast milk production. They are also popular as an appetite suppressant, likely because they improve the metabolism process. Fenugreek seeds also have anti-inflammatory quality and can reduce heartburn symptoms. Many traditional hair and skincare products in India use fenugreek seeds.
Here are several ways to eat fenugreek:
- As salad
Fenugreek seed and leaves are great as salads. You can chop fenugreek leaves before mixing them with your favorite vegetables. Or, you can sprinkle dried fenugreek seeds right on top a fruit or vegetable salad.
- As smoothie
Fenugreek seeds are favorite additions for a smoothie. They add a unique flavor and health benefits, and they thicken the smoothie without adding yogurt or milk. You can mix whole fenugreek seeds with bananas, flaxseeds, mint leaves, almonds, and freshly-squeezed orange juice to create a healthy, energizing smoothie.
- As soup or curry
Fenugreek seeds and herbs increase the flavor of soup or curry. You can add the seeds and (crushed) dry leaves to curry. You can also mix fenugreek leaves or sprouts with lentils to create vegetarian lentil soup.
- As hair paste
Use fenugreek seed paste to keep your hair healthy and shiny. Soak the seeds overnight before grinding them. Mix them with coconut oil until they turn into a paste. Apply the paste to hair and scalp. Leave it for 10 minutes before rinsing.
Fenugreek seeds are hard, so you should fry or grind them before using. Frying the seeds without oil on medium heat will make them easier to crunch. If you plan to grind them, use a coffee grinder for an easier job.
Fenugreek is easy to plant, but you can get various benefits from it. The unique flavor will improve your recipes, and the health benefits keep you healthy. You can use both the seeds and the leaves for cooking, making a smoothie, or keeping your hair beautiful.
Planting fenugreek is easy and can be done in an indoor pot. By following several simple steps, you can enjoy various fenugreek uses at home.