How to Grow Fenugreek Herb : Fenugreek Benefits

Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum) is an annual growing herb native to the Mediterranean and Western Asia. Fenugreek leaves are not only very easy to grow from seeds in pots or ground at home, but also extremely beneficial herb.

Fenugreek plant is very easy to grow in pots or ground. fenygreek seeds can be used to make fenugreek sprouts at home from seeds. Read on the following step-by-step guide on how to grow fenugreek herb from seeds in containers or ground at home, even indoors.

Fenugreek is known by various names like Methi, Greek Hay, Foenugreek, Fenigreek, Bird’s Foot, Hilba, Trigonella, Cow’s Horn, Goat’s Horn, etc.

Fenugrrek Benefits

The fenugreek herb has various health benefits such as for lowering blood sugar levels. In India breastfeeding mothers are recommended to eat fenugreek as it has potential to increase milk production. Fenugreek can also control choleaterol, reduce menstrual cramps and benefit in digestive problems.

How To Use Fenugrrek

The fenugreek herb has been used as a spice since ancient times in Asia and Europe is curries and pickles. The fresh fenugreek leaves (methi greens) are used in some Indian dishes and veggie curries and fenygreek seeds in curry powders. The leaves are also used in Thepla, which are very popular in Gujarati meals, and are used for regular meals, breakfast and during travelling.

Fenugreek can be used as fenugreek sprouts, fenugreek powder, fenugreek tea or in oil form. Many people are recommended to take fenugreek supplement.

The fenugreek leaves are dried and used in cooking as a spice. Fenugreek leaves dried are known as Kasuri Methi or kasoori methi. India is the largest grower of fenugreek. Fenugreek leaves have many health benefits.

Growing Fenugreek From Seeds

Fenugreek Plant Description

Picture of Fenugreek leaves
Fenugreek Methi Leaves
The fenugreek plant can grow to a height of 60 cm. It has three-lobed triangular leaves (See the picture), hence the generic name trigonell. The plant produces yellow flowers which form beans containing fenugreek seeds. The fenugreek methi grows very quickly.

When to Plant Fenugreek

  1. Fenugreek grows well in spring to early autumn seasons, specially when the soil is warm. I have also grown it in winter in Sydney but the growth is slow. Fenugreek grows best when the temperature is between 10 to 30 °C (50 to 90 °F).
  2. In the areas of frost,fenugreek seeds may be started indoors 5 weeks prior to the last frost of the season.

Whereb To Plant Fenugreek

Fenugreek should be planted in full sun to part shade.

Soil For Growing Fenugreek

  1. Methi grows well in a neutral to slightly acid (pH 6.0-7.0) soil.
  2. Dig the ground to a depth of 25 cm and break big chunks of soil. Mix some river sand to make it free draining (vegetable garden soil).
  3. Mix lots of organic material like compost (composting) and aged manure to make the soil fertile.

Growing Fenugreek in Containers?

The fenugreek can be grown in any container or ground. The advantage of growing it in a pot is that it can be moved to indoors in the case of frost. If you gorw fenugreek herb in a pot, you can keep it indoors for ready use in kitchen. I grow in ground and in a rectangular Styrofoam fruit box of height about 10 inches.

Picture of Methi Seeds
Fenugreek Seeds

Sowing the Fenugreek Seeds

First you have to buy the fenugreek seeds. Indian grocery Stores keep both the fenugreek powder and seeds. To grow fenugreek plants, buy fenugreek seeds.
  1. The plant does not like to be transplanted after germination, so the fenugreek seeds should be sown at the final place. Or you can sow seeds (See picture) in biodegradable pots which can be put directly into the ground later on.
  2. Buy good quality seeds from garden shop or use the seeds from your previous crop. I, however, buy fenugreek seeds from Indian grocery shop, which grow well.
  3. Sow seeds about 5 mm deep and 50 mm apart in straight line trenches for seed sowing. You can also sow the seeds in criss-cross patterns. In stead of sowing in trenches, you can just sprinkle the seeds on the bed and cover with soil.
  4. Water well and keep soil well-moistened.
  5. Seeds will germinate in 3-5 days.
  6. In the areas of frost, it may be started indoors 5 weeks prior to the last frost of the season. The seedlings can be transplanted outdoors when the soil temperature is around 15°C (60°F).
  7. I sow seeds every 2-3 weeks in the season, so that when the first set of plants die, I am having the next set to get fresh green methi leaves.
Picture of Fenugreek Plant
Fenugreek Plants (Methi) Growing in a Pot

Watering Fenugreek Plant

Keep the soil moist, but do not over-water.

Fertilizer for Fenugreek Plants

  1. Feed the fenugreek plants with fish emulsion spray regularly.
  2. Fenugreek plants add nitrogen to the soil as broad beans do, so they are good to add nitrogen to the soil.

Fenugreek Harvesting

Harvesting Fenugreek Leaves

Fenugreek leaves will be ready to harvest within 3-4 weeks after sowing the seeds. I just chop the fenugreek leaves from the top of the plants as and when I need it in the kitchen. This will encourage more growth and you will be able to harvest again fresh methi leaves after 2-3 weeks.

Harvesting Fenugreek Seeds

  1. The fenugreek plants will produce beans containing seeds.
  2. If you want to make fenugreek seeds, continue feeding and watering till the plants start to die.
  3. Collect the fenugreek seed pods and thresh them to extract the seeds. Leave the seeds in the sun to dry.
  4. Save the pods until you sow the seeds next time.
  5. Store the methi seeds in an air-tight container and keep in a dry and dark spot.

How To Store Fresh Methi Leaves For Long

You can store fenugreek leaves for many months almost as fresh as the new ones, with no change in their colour, taste or flavour. The method is given below:
  1. Harvest fresh fenugreek leaves from your plants or buy from the market.
  2. Chop the leaves roughly and wrap in aluminium foil lightly. Make 2-3 such packets.
  3. Put the packets in a Ziplock bag and freeze it.
  4. When you want to use the fenugreek methi leaves, simply take out a packet, open it and wash and use.
  5. It is better not to wash the leaves before chopping to reduce moisture, otherwise the leaves will rot in the fridge.

How To Make Fenugreek Sprouts

You may be wondering how to make fenugreek sprouts at home. Yes, it is simple. To make fenugreek sprouts, buy some fenugreek seeds from a grocery store. Put the seeds in a jar and cover with 3-4 inch of water above the seeds. Drain the water and cover seeds with a muslin cloth and leave in a dark place. The seeds will sprout in 2-3 days.

References

  1. Trigonella foenum-graecum information from NPGS/GRIN,  www.ars-grin.gov.
  2. V. A. Parthasarathy, K. Kandinnan and V. Srinivasan (ed.). "Fenugreek". Organic Spices. New India Publishing Agencies. p. 694.

31 comments:

Manisha September 12, 2015 7:40 AM
Please tell me, can I grow methi in a small container like a fruit box?
P. Mehta September 12, 2015 4:02 PM
You can grow methi or fenugreek in any pot, small or large. You can place them in your kitchen window where it can receive sun light. cut off the leaves as and when required.
Ramia April 24, 2016 7:45 AM
How can I get regular fresh methi leaves in the season from my kitchen garden?
PK April 26, 2016 7:10 AM
Prepare two garden beds or containers for growing fenugreek. Sow seeds in one of the spots and after 3-4 weeks sow seeds in the second one. When the plants in the first spot begin to die, the methi will be ready to harvest in the second one. Keep on repeating this.
Anonymous May 25, 2016 2:34 AM
Hi .. I have sowed the fenugreek seeds indoors but yesterday I could see white hair on the roots of the sprouts .. Is it mold or is it fine ? I want to fix this right away . Pls help me
P. Mehta May 25, 2016 4:00 AM
When the fenugreek seeds germinate, white hairy thing will develop which will form a tony leaf.
Anonymous June 27, 2016 7:29 AM
I planted my Fenugreek about 6 weeks ago, just harvested my first batch. A strong maple smell is in the air around my pots which is the smell I am familiar with. The Methi I buy in stores has the same aroma. However I cut out a large bunch of leaves to wash/dry, and they just have a strong earthy smell to them. No maple smell at all once they are out of the garden. I proceeded to dry them anyway and there was no change. What did I do wrong? Did I harvest too early?
P. Mehta July 07, 2016 4:22 AM
The typical methi flavour will come back when it is cooked.
P. Mehta July 07, 2016 4:23 AM
The typical methi flavour will come back when it is cooked.
mohan1948 July 11, 2016 12:25 PM
The best blog on kitchen gardening. Under sowing it is mentioned 5 cm deep, we presume 5 mm deep.
P. Mehta July 11, 2016 12:59 PM
Yes, the methi seeds should be sown 5 mm deep. Thanks.
Anon July 27, 2016 4:31 PM
Oh no...cm is mm...oops. Hope my galangal grows now :'-
Rekha S Srinivasan August 04, 2016 7:03 PM
Fantastic! No words to express my gratitude for the knowledge that I have got here.
farhat October 05, 2016 1:25 PM
My seedlings r started to dry out can u help me in this regard? Thanks
P. Mehta October 06, 2016 7:34 AM
Keep the seedlings moist.
PK October 14, 2016 7:20 AM
My fenugreek plants soon develops beens, should I pluck them?
P. Mehta October 14, 2016 7:35 AM
You can use fenugreek leaves 2-3 times, after that the plant produce flowers and beans. You have to sow new seeds. However, you can mix the plants i the soil as they are the green manure, adding nutrients to the soil.
Kalpakam Cherukumudi January 07, 2017 3:23 PM
Do I need to soak the seeds overnight before planting.the ordinary kitchen spice variety.
Suresh Kumar January 08, 2017 5:40 AM
How to get seeds from Fenugreek plants?
P. Mehta January 08, 2017 7:11 AM
It is not necessary to soak the fenugreek seeds before sowing. However, if you soak, the germination will take 1 day day less. You can use kitchen spice variety, you will see germination/sprouts in 4-5 days. Keep soil damp.
P. Mehta January 08, 2017 7:14 AM
To make seeds from the fenugreek plant, let the plant grow to flower and produce beans. Take out the seeds when the beans mature. It is better to buy fenugreek seeds from market.
Anitha Gowda March 28, 2017 2:25 AM
I tried to grow them indoor in a small wood container, only the stem grows fast, Leaves dont develop. I tried couple of times it is the same. I have tried my hands on different seeds, but result is same.
P. Mehta March 28, 2017 10:05 AM
This is surprising. It shouldn't have happened. When the seeds germinate, they produce 2 leaves. Next time try cutting the growing ends, and see the new growth should have leaves.
subbuyerramalle June 27, 2017 8:18 PM
I tried several times the germinate well n very soon they fall down and die seeds from different sources were tried but result is same I always kept them outdoors.
P. Mehta June 27, 2017 9:01 PM
The fenugrrek plants should not die, keep the soil moist。The water should not stand on the soil for long, means the soil should be free draining.
Minu November 22, 2017 11:46 PM
I am growing fenugreek from past 3 weeks. My leaves have never been dark green. It was always pale green but now it's starting to become yellow and some plants are falling . What am I doing wrong
P. Mehta November 23, 2017 7:12 AM
Minu, it may be due to inadequate watering, water the fenugreek plants daily. Add some cow manure to soil.
hilla February 10, 2018 6:05 PM
can I grow crushed fenugreek?
P. Mehta February 11, 2018 8:32 AM
Crushed fenugreek seeds will not germinate, however, you can try if they are not finely crushed.
Raghavi Subramaniam July 09, 2018 3:26 AM
Really helpful! I tried growing fenugreek in coconut fibre.... I did not use any compost...It germinated in two days....buy some are falling down.... I keep them indirect sun for six hours per day and watering regularly...can you give me suggestions...
P. Mehta July 15, 2018 10:15 AM
I think you are doing fine. Do not water on the leaves. I hope you are not using only coconut fiber, you must use soil or potting mix and can add coconut fiber.