Fenugreek is native to Asia and Southern Europe and has attained popularity given its medicinal qualities. It has been cultivated for centuries for treating medical conditions ranging from sore throat to coughs, constipation, bronchitis, minor skin irritations and even as a kitchen spice. Today we are going to answer some common queries regarding how to grow methi leaves at home.
Fenugreek plants can attain a height of 60 cm and has three-lobed triangular leaves. This has led to its generic name of Trigonella foenum-graecum. Fenugreek is an annual herb which belongs to the Fabaceae family and can be grown easily in pots. This highly beneficial herb is known by various names like Bird’s Foot, Cow’s Horn, Greek Hay, Goat’s Horn etc.
Climate and Soil Requirement To Grow Methi Plant At Home
Methi thrives well in warm and hot climate with temperature ranging between 10 to 32 degree Celsius. Early summer or spring months are the best for growing methi if you are planting it for seeds. You can plant it anytime in between spring to mid-fall if you plan on using it as an herb or vegetable. Fenugreek can be grown throughout the year in places having frost-free winters.
Methi plants have an affinity towards slightly alkaline soil having pH level of 6.5-8.2. You need to keep the pot in a place where it shall receive 4-5 hours of direct sunlight regularly. The plant needs to be shifted under a shade during afternoon. If you are using gardening soil, then make it a point to increase its draining capability by adding river sand.
Organic material like well-rotted manure and compost can be used for enhancing the soils fertility quotient. But for best results, it is always advisable to use commercial potting soil in the place of plain gardening soil.
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Benefits Of Container Gardening (Growing Methi in Pots)
Not everyone has a backyard where they can grow different plants. In such cases, container gardening can serve as your best bet as it helps in growing your favourite plants in windowsills and indoor setups. These plants require very less growing space which makes it advantageous for being grown in patio or balcony. While growing fenugreek in a pot, it can easily be moved indoors when it starts to frost.
How To Prepare Soil To Grow Methi/Fenugreek
1/3-part compost, horse manure or well-rotted cow manure will have to be added to the potting mix before sprinkling the seeds all around the pot and dusting it with a thin layer of soil. You need to leave around 1-2 inch spacing in between the seeds. However, spacing doesn’t come off as a major concern while growing fenugreek as a microgreen.
Growing Conditions For Fenugreek/ Methi Plant
Methi plants usually attain a height of 2 feet and grows best when started 4 to 6 weeks in indoor setup prior to the last frost date. The seeds shall have to be sown ¼ inches deep in any average well drained soil and kept adequately moistened.
You will have to water the plant in moderation once the seeds start to germinate. Being a legume, methi is intolerant to any disturbance post germination. You can minimize the same by sowing methi seeds in biodegradable pots for being directly transplanted to the ground when required.
Fenugreek plant thrives well in loamy, drained and slightly acidic soil on receiving filtered sunlight, part shade or full sun. The companion plants of Trigonella foenum-graecum are Buckwheat, Beans and Crowder Peas. Some of its common varieties are Rajendra Kanti, CO1, Lam Sel.1, RMt-1.
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How To Propagate Methi Plant From Seeds?
Methi plant does not fare well on being transplanted as it is propagated from seed. You need to sow the seeds directly at a depth of 1 to 2 cm. The seeds will grow just fine even on not being perfectly spaced. You should either plant it in the area where it shall mature from or opt for a biodegradable pot which can be later on planted into the ground.
How To Grow Methi Leaves At Home? (Step-by-step Guide)
- First you need to get hold of fenugreek seeds from an herb shop or local grocery stores. You can also try out different online stores.
- Next you need to choose the place where the plant shall grow and this can be the soil in your backyard, an aluminium tray filled with dirt or a twelve-inch planted. While fenugreek plant should ideally be kept under full sun, you can also work with filtered sunlight or partial shade.
- While a slightly acidic pH balance of 6.4 is considered ideal, you can opt for a loamy soil with pH levels of 6.0 to 7.0 pH. You can easily test the soil pH levels before planting the seeds.
- Fenugreek thrives in warm soil and so, you need to start growing it before spring if you reside in a cold place.
- While you need to keep the soil continually moist, it should be prevented from getting overwatered. Water should drain away easily from the soil without tearing away large chunks. You can improve the drainage by mixing river sand to the soil. Manure and organic compost can also be added for hiking up its fertility quotient.
- If you are using an aluminium pan or pot for the fenugreek plant then you can use loose potting soil as in this case you won’t need to break any soil after pouring it inside the container. However, you should leave some space in between the edge of the container and top of the soil for filling in more soil over the seeds after they have been sown.
- The seeds shall have to be soaked overnight before plantation. This helps in increasing its germination rate. It can be done by placing the seeds in a cup or bowl of water at room temperature and keeping it overnight. The next morning you need to drain the water prior to planting the seeds.
- Now you will have to sprinkle the seeds and cover it with soil. Fenugreek doesn’t require to be buried deep within the soil. Just ¼ inch of potting soil is enough for offering ample coverage to your plant and preventing scavengers like birds from eating away the seeds.
- You will have to properly water the seeds to help with its germination. The soil should remain evenly moist during this time and the excess water should be drained away quickly. It shall start to bud after 3-5 days of sowing.
Fenugreek plant has adapted with the rainy environment and you need to maintain a slow drip watering method rather than pouring water over the plant bed. This will ensure an even and constant water delivery so that it penetrates the soil deeper in an effective manner.
Fenugreek seedlings are ready to be harvested between 3-4 weeks when the sprouts attain a height of 6 inches.
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Choosing Container Or Pot To Grow Methi
Growing fenugreek in containers is pretty easy as it is similar to any other vegetable. However, you need to bring home a wide planter having a minimum depth of 10-12 inches, width of 8 inches and ample drainage. Since Methi plant has shallow roots, you can easily grow it in a low depth container after filling it with a rich potting mix.
A large sized container is required for growing methi plant as it tends to grow vigorously. Using a shallow container might cause the roots to spread out from the bottom and weaken the plants in the long run. It is best if the container has 2 to 3 draining holes. You can use an antiseptic soap and warm water for sterilising the container prior to usage. A thin layer of gravel can be placed at the bottom layer of the container.
You can maintain soil temperature and control water overflow by placing a saucer under the container. For best results, you need to select pots made of terracotta, clay, wood or plastic while growing methi.
Potting Soil For Methi Plant
Methi plant requires neutral to slightly acidic soil. But for best results, you need to mix the soil with organic compost and aged manure as that makes the soil more fertile.
How To Plant Methi Seeds In Pot?
Both fenugreek seeds and powder can be purchased from local grocery stores or online portals. But if you are planning on growing methi plants, then you need to buy the seeds. Methi does not like transplantation and disturbance caused to their roots might destroy the plant. This is why it is advisable to directly sow the methi seeds in your desired container.
The methi seeds should ideally be soaked overnight as that speeds up its germination process which is usually 3-5 days. The seeds can be sowed in a criss-cross pattern or simply sprinkled on the bed before covering it up with soil.
However, the soil bed has to be kept adequately moistened during this whole time. If you reside in an area where it frosts, then you need to start growing the plant indoors at least 5 weeks before the frost date of the last season.
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How long do methi seeds take to germinate?
Methi seeds ideally germinate between 3-5 days if you keep the soil well moistened by watering regularly. If you reside in an area that is susceptible to frost, then you need to start out indoors and transplant it outside once the temperature crosses the 15-degreeCelsius mark.
Watering Methi Plant
Regular watering helps in keeping the soil moist. However, you should prevent over-watering the plant as that might waterlog the soil and impede the plant’s growth. You need to be especially cautious with watering while growing the plant indoors. The moisture levels also need to be checked on a regular basis by inserting your finger in a 2-inch deep soil. You should water the plant bed only when it feels dry to touch.
Fertilizers To Grow Methi Leaves at Home
Fenugreek plant doesn’t have very high fertilizer requirements. You can use a time-based fertilizer, manure or compost at the time of planting. This shall help the plant in growing for about a few weeks. You can also opt for a balanced liquid fertilizer for more robust growth every other week.
The fenugreek plants can be fed fish emulsion spray on a regular basis. The soil surface can be side dressed with a compost of vegetable or tea to boost up the growth of its leaves.
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How to Take Care of Methi Plant?
Fenugreek plants show best results when it receives cool temperatures and full sunlight. While it is mostly grown during spring months in warm regions, you can grow it throughout summer season if you reside in an area experiencing mild summer. Once the danger of frost has passed, you can plant the seeds directly as the plants are not very tolerant to transplanting.
The potting soil should have ample amounts of well-rotted manure or compost added to it before you actually sow the seeds. This relatively drought tolerant plant should be watered during dry months. Weeds should also be removed regularly as they tend to steal away the soil nutrients and moisture for leaving the herbal fenugreek plant starving.
You can harvest the fenugreek leaves throughout summer months. They can either be stored in a freezer or in an airtight container. Usually fresh leaves retain their quality for about a month. You can uproot the entire plant between early to mid-fall if you are growing the plant for its seeds. Next it shall have to be hung in a cool and dry place until the seeds dry out.
The dried seeds now need to be removed from the pods and stored in an airtight container. For best quality, you should store the seeds in a cupboard away from direct sunlight. The clover-shaped foliage produced by methi can be picked at any time. However, you can reduce its bitterness by plucking leaves from a young plant.
Fenugreek as an annual legume can fix the nitrogen levels of the soil like peer legumes. This quality helps in hiking up the nutrient quotient of the soil surrounding the plant. Its stems and leaves also serve as potent sources of nutrients like proteins, ascorbic acid, niacin and potassium.
How to Harvest Methi Leaves?
If the conditions are favourable, then methi plant becomes ready for its first harvest within 20-30 days. You can gently trim its leaves for being used as a leafy vegetable in various delicious recipes. It can also be used as an herb on being air dried. The twigs should be left and it will again grow up within 15 days’ time.
Pests and Diseases
Fenugreek plant is usually not attacked by many pests or diseases. However, you need to be wary of powdery mildew, aphids, root rot and charcoal rot. Regular watering and usage of organic pesticides can help keep all such problems at bay.