How to Grow Fenugreek:
Fenugreek is a herb that is Mediterranean in origin and it is used for a variety of purposes from a spice added to cooking to something used in cosmetics to helping heal inflammation and back again. While most health food stores haven't taken to selling ground capsules of fenugreek for consumer consumption yet, most grocery stores will carry it as a herb or spice that can be added to many foods to provide added health benefits to you for consuming it on a regular basis. By adequately preparing your garden you can enjoy a plethora of fenugreek at an affordable price all year around.
Seed Sowing Depth: Fenugreek seeds should be sown in soil of between a 6.0 and a 7.0 pH which will be the best for the seeds. A 6.4 pH balance will be ideal. The seeds should be planted at a depth of about a half inch) for the best growing results. Soil should be fairly lose to allow the plant to push through easily and grow easily.
When to Sow: Fenugreek seeds should be planted in the early spring as they will prosper best in the warm soil as the weather warms up. Any time from early spring to autumn works for seeds to be planted, however, if you want to harvest the seeds in the same season the earlier the seeds are planted the better the chance is that you can harvest them in the same season. It's also possible to start sowing seeds inside up to 5 weeks before the last frost so you can transfer them to the soil outside when the last frosts have passed, so this is in April for most people in moderate climates that experience all four seasons.
Sowing Seeds Indoors/Outdoors: Seeds are fine to begin indoors after soaking in lukewarm water overnight. They will grow inside for about 5 weeks before they are transported outside to the soil there they will grow to full maturation. About 5 weeks before the last frost is the best time to start to grow them, and transferring them outside soon as the frosts are over, when temperatures are in at least the 40s overnight is the best time to start growing them outside. Seeds will be ready to harvest by mid-to-late summer at the latest.
Alternatively, waiting to plant till it's past the time of frosts outside will work as well for a later summer harvest. Don't wait too long after frosts end or you miss the premium planting window for these plants.
Also, be sure to not try to transfer plants much after they are 5 to 6 weeks old as they do not do so well transferring from a pot to outdoors after this age. Many plants will experience growth complications and will not be able to grow adequately as they should be able to otherwise. However, growing them inside of up to 5-6 weeks can provide a great head start to ensure that you are able to harvest them well before the fall frosts hit.
Ensure you rotate your harvests on a 2-3 week basis to ensure you get fresh fenugreek to harvest throughout the entire summer harvesting season. To do this, stagger planting and growing throughout the spring season in about mid-May to ensure they all grow and mature to harvesting before the frosts hit in the late fall season.
Plants Heights & Widths: The average fenugreek plant will end up being about 140 mm tall (6 inches) tall when they are fully mature. The sprouts will be about 1 inch wide at the most as these are fairly small blooms at about 1" by 6" at full maturation.
Leafs Description/Color: Fenugreek is a leafy, green plant that sprouts into 6" tall stocks with leafs that can be harvested. They grow tall and slender and look like an ivory-type plant with all green leaves and end up about 6" tall at full maturation.
Growth Habits: Fenugreek will grow best in the first months of the growing season after the last hard frost of the winter has hit. In the spring, these plants are great as they will be ready to harvest by early-to-mid summer at the latest. Fenugreek does not grow very tall as about 6" tall is full maturation for these plants and they are only about 1" wide at most.
General Info on Fenugreek & Uses: Fenugreek has been used for centuries in many types of cooking as a spice that provides benefits that have long been touted by the ancients. Fenugreek is thought to treat a variety of conditions including everything from boils, diabetes, cellulitis, and tuberculosis to name a few other disorders. The seeds are used as extracts that are put in maple syrups.
Fenugreek has been shown in a few studies to possibly lead to lower cholesterol levels helping people control their bad cholesterol numbers which, in turn, help improve health. It has also been shown to lower glucose levels in people suffering from various forms of diabetes and can provide uses as an anti-tumor agent to discourage tumors from developing in the human body.
Sometimes fenugreek seeds are used as ingredients in insect repellents to keep the most creepy, crawly roaches away as well. Chopping the leaves throughout the summer growing season as you will use them in cooking is the best practice. Save final harvests that will not cause the plant to wilt till the end of the summer season.
Pests/Diseases in Fenugreek: Fengureek is susceptible to several various pests and diseases including aphids which often present themselves as soft-bodied insects present on the plant, usually on the stems or plants, and they may present as being pink, brown, or even yellow in color. They stunt the growths of the plant's shoots which leaves the leafs unable to develop adequately and then it causes the plant to die as they secrete sticky, sugary substances on the plant that end up killing it.
Another condition that the fenugreek plants suffer from are the cercospora leaf spots which leaves sunken, circular lesions on the leaves of the plant and discolor the pods. This will only occur though if the seed that is planted is already infected with the condition.
Powdery mildew is another problem that fenugreek faces on a regular basis when the plant shows powdery white spots on the leaves which is more likely due to overcrowding of plants. Ensure each plant has plenty of space to grow to avoid overcrowding them and causing them to grow more mildew than necessary.
Harvesting & Storage Information: Methi-green as fenugreek is often called are often used in many Indian-style dishes and are popular in Gujarati meals which are especially common in meals when people are traveling. India is currently the largest known grower of fenugreek in the world and the plant is known to have many health benefits for those who consume it regularly.
Methi Leafs are dried and are used dried in cooking as a spice. Dried fenugreek leafs are known as Asuri Methi or Kasoori Methi. Stored in airtight containers these herbs can last for some time and make a great side to other, already-existing dishes that provide many health benefits when also consumed regularly.