How to grow fenugreek?

neohippie(8b)December 10, 2009

I'd like to grow some fenugreek in my garden next year. I have some curry recipes that call for the leaves rather than the seeds, so I thought this would be a way to get a good supply of leaves.

I've got the seeds, but all I can find about their cultivation is that fenugreek is an annual legume. Not sure what to do next, so I was wondering if anyone could give me a quick tutorial.

Just the basics like should I start them indoors and transplant them or direct sow? About what time of year should I plant them out? Are they frost-tolerant like parsley or cilantro or are they more like basil and I should wait until the weather is warm to plant them out?

Thanks for any help. I've also got cumin, by the way, but I assume since it's in the parsley family I can treat it the same way as parsley/dill/cilantro. It's the fenugreek that seems a real mystery.

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Some pretty simple google work to get the growing info.

If you add terms like "seed," "germination," "growing," "cultivation," "culture," and so to your herb name in the favorite search engine of your choice you'll get more info on this or other herbs. Using different key words will surely get you different results so try various combinations. Have fun reading and enjoy! :)


Here is a link that might be useful: growing fenugreek

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 8:35AM
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Propagate by seed sown direct (in situ - plants do not like being transplanted) in spring, about 3mm deep. Will germinate in fairly cool soils. Prefers fairly dry, fertile, well-drained soil and full sun. Plants mature in about 4 months.

Harvest the pods which contain the seeds when ripe. The seeds are hard, yellowish brown and angular. Some are oblong, some rhombic, others virtually cubic, with a side of about 3mm. A deep furrow all but splits them in two. Dried seed should be lightly roasted before using (too long and they become bitter). After roasting, they can be easily ground. Harvest the leaves when plants begin flowering.

When trying to grow herbs, it's good to know where the plants originated. That way you'll learn about the sort of climate and conditions where they'll thrive. Learning about the origins of a plant enables you to deduce a great deal of information. Plants often grow outside their comfort zone, but whether they'll behave the same is another matter altogether! In the case of Fenugreek, you know it's an annual, and that generally implies that seed will germinate in spring, and the plant will die when the cold weather hits.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 5:34PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

It's very easy to grow. I don't think it's frost-hardy, and in any weather it tends to bolt to seed very quickly. Start direct-seeding after the last frost. The plants are quite small, so plan on growing them like cilantro  space fairly closely, harvest when young, and succession-sow for a steady supply of leaves.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2009 at 11:29PM
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To my experience, any vegetable that has bigger seeds will germinate and grow more easily. Fenugreek has fairly good size seeds compared to many garden herbs.So you can sow them directly in the garden.

I have also learned, this past season, that fenugreek is more of a cold crop, if you want to use the greens. Right now I have few in may garden that have survived frosts and light freezes. When I started them at the end of summer, they got leggy. Now I know that they prefer cooler weather to be healthy and green.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 11:08PM
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Many experience good results growing indoors

Here is a link that might be useful: Fenugreek Seeds

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 9:12PM
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Be careful with hygeine while planting fenugreek seeds if you got them from Thompson and Morgan or another out-of-country source; apparently the source of the toxic E Coli strain running around Europe right now is presently suspected of having been introduced on contaminated seed from Egypt. The seed is then believed to have contaminated the sprouts grown from them. It would only be a small percentage of seed affected, and I imagine that exposure to soil organisms MIGHT (I'm not a microbiologist) tend to kill them off. Maybe this would be something to ask someone in the Department of Agriculture, though.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 4:33AM
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I bought fenugreek seed from a company that sells it as a winter cover crop - I got it because it can be planted later in the fall than most types, as it will sprout in quite cool soil.

In my first trial of this, a sudden cold snap hit before many of the seeds were up, and germination was poor. The few scattered plants that did come up, however, made it through the winter and bloomed in the Spring.

It does seem to be fairly frost-hardy, plant it early. You might even try planting some in the fall - it's a gamble, but could give you an early harvest.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 6:10AM
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I have 6 fenugreek plants that are starting to flower right now (May 20th). Is it more useful to wait for the seed for using in cooking or should I pick the leaves now?? I direct seeded them in a raised bed garden a month before the last frost in my zone (6b) and they have done fantastic.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:29PM
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