Herbs are one of the most important ingredients in many Indian dishes. They add a unique flavor to the food. Fenugreek is one such herb that not only adds flavor but is also beneficial to health.
What is also interesting about methi is that you can grow it by yourself. In fact, it was the first thing that I grew when I started out, I was in my 8th standard I think. Planting the seeds, watering them, seeing the little leaves grow day by day… is really an experience to look forward to and finally using them to adorn your dish gives quite a satisfaction.
So, in this post, I am going to show you how to grow Fenugreek in your garden or in containers on your balcony. Growing fenugreek is easy.
Fenugreek is a Mediterranean herb that is used for cooking and probably that is why it has “greek” in its name ?.
Fenugreek or methi is cultivated widely for medicinal and culinary uses. It is an all purpose plant. Seeds are used as a spice, dried leaves as a herb(Kasuri methi), and fresh leaves as a green leafy vegetable.
Other names: Methi, Helba, Halba, Abesh, etc.
Nutritional value of fenugreek and it’s leaves
Fenugreek is a medicinal plant rich in protein and dietary fiber. Fenugreek leaves are rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B6 etc.
Health benefits of fenugreek leaves
- Beneficial for diabetics: Fenugreek can be beneficial for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It can be helpful in improving carb tolerance in non-diabetic people as well. Fenugreek seeds can also improve the functioning of insulin.
- Natural Cholesterol reducer: It reduces cholesterol in people suffering from Atherosclerosis and diabetes. Some studies show that fenugreek can increase the production of good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce the production of bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.
- Can help with gastrointestinal issues: Antioxidant properties of fenugreek and its fiber content can help in improving digestion and thus reducing the gastrointestinal issues. Fenugreek leaves are good for gut health, stomach ulcers, intestinal inflammation, colon, and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Good for heart patients: Regular consumption of fenugreek seeds or leaves can be beneficial for your cardiovascular health. Fenugreek can reduce risks of heart disease.
- Fenugreek improves hair health and also boosts the immune system and protects against flu and various infections.
Note: Consuming fenugreek in the form of tea can help in reducing constipation, gastritis, indigestion and stomach pain.
I love to grow fenugreek/methi leaves at home. Believe me, it is one of the easiest greens to grow at home. I have grown methi in the ground and also in containers or small pots. It can also be grown indoors on windowsills in small pots or containers. The process for both of them is same.
The container can be deep, shallow or small. Methi can grow in any sized container literally, you can also grow it in growing trays which are just 3-4 inches deep. Pictures below are just an example of grow trays.
Note: Always use a pot or container with drainage holes at the bottom.
How to grow fenugreek ?
- To grow fenugreek, fill the container or small pot with organic soil or potting mix or a soil mixture which contains 60% normal garden soil and 40% organic compost. Make sure the pot has a drain hole.
- Wet the soil or potting mix thoroughly.
- Sprinkle the seeds over the potting mix or soil. You can use the seeds that you use for cooking or you can also buy them from the market.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. Make sure that the seeds are 1/4 inch deep in the soil and not more.
- At this stage gently water the soil. Make sure you do not expose seeds with watering force. I suggest using a spray bottle or making your own sprinkler bottle by making holes in the cap of a plastic water bottle.
- The seeds will sprout in a couple of days, be sure to water them and keep the container under the sun. If the sun is too harsh make sure it is in partial sunlight.
- Fenugreek does not do well when transplanted so sow them in the final place.
Note: Make sure to keep the soil evenly moist at all times during the growing phase.
All year round in warm climates. Spring, Summer, and fall in cold climates.
Growing climate and temperatures
- Fenugreek grows well in warm and hot climates with temperatures around 10c to 32c (50 – 90F).
- If you are planting it for seeds then grow it in early summer or spring. And if you are planting it to use as a herb then you can plant it any time.
Note: Fenugreek needs sunlight but filtered sunlight or partial shade will also work.
Fenugreek plant care and requirements
- Sowing place: Fenugreek usually prefers soil which is neutral to slightly alkaline with a ph level around 6.5 – 8.0. Plant it in a spot which gets atleast 4-5 hours of sunlight with shade when the sun is harshest.
- Watering: Water them gently and regularly to keep the soil slightly moist but be sure not to overwater them. If you are growing fenugreek inside your home then check before watering, if the soil is moist then do not water.
- Fertilizer: As far as growing in small quantities in containers you won’t need any fertilizer, just a good soil mixture(60% normal garden soil and 40% organic compost) or potting mix will do.
- Pests and Diseases: It does not have many pests and diseases but a few which affect it are aphids, powdery mildew, charcoal rot, and root rot. You can save your plants from these problems by using organic pesticides and watering properly.
Note: In the case of aphids attack use neem oil or garlic spray after every 4 – 5 days.
In favorable conditions, methi will be ready in 15 days for harvesting. At this point, you can pull methi from its root and cut off the roots, wash it and use it or you can wait a little longer and cut 2 – 3 inches from the top and leave the twigs, which will grow up again in 15 days. You can do this upto four times. To harvest the fenugreek seeds, you will have to wait 2-4 months depending on the growing conditions. For seeds, wait for the pods on the plant to turn yellow and harvest the seeds before the pods pop open.
Note: After every harvest, add little organic compost to speed up the new growth. And water the plants after adding the compost.
If for some reason methi is not growing, try soaking the seeds overnight before you plant them. It will help to increase their germination rate.
Place the seeds in a bowl of room temperature water and leave them overnight. Drain the water and plant the seeds the next day.
How to eat fenugreek and recipe ideas
You can top it off on your salads or use it as a microgreen in your sandwich. When topping off a salad or using in a sandwich use the young freshly cut leaves, they taste awesome.
Otherwise, you can use methi in curries like aloo methi, methi malai paneer, methi chole, make methi ki dal, methi paratha, methi paneer pulao, etc.
Before you go…
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