How to grow fenugreek in the UK from seeds. Methi, more commonly known in English as Fenugreek, is a popular leafy plant that is used in Indian cooking.
The leaves have a strong bitter taste, but when added to a potato or chicken curry, it adds aroma and immense richness to the curry’s flavour.
Fenugreek is commonly used in north Indian chicken curry dishes, as well as Gujrat style potato curries. Adding a handful of methi leaves will dramatically change the flavour of your curry.
Whilst most of the methi that we eat in the UK is grown elsewhere, it is possible to grow fenugreek in the UK during the Summer. Methi seeds are easily available in most Indian grocery stores. Growing methi is easy and it grows really fast.
All you need is a handful of fenugeek seeds to grow it in the garden. The seeds can be sown either in planting pots or directly in the ground. Below is a guide to growing fenugreek seeds in pots.
Grow Fenugreek from Seeds
Growing fenugreek is fairly simple. You can grow fenugreek in pots which makes it much easier to harvest when it is ready.
Below is a list of items you will need:
- Fenugreek or methi seeds. These are available in most Indian grocery stores. They can also be purchased from Amazon.
- Nutrient rich compost that is suitable for vegetables.
- A couple of medium sized planting pots with drainage holes.
- A small set of garden tools that you can use in your vegetable beds.
The Best Time to Grow Methi
Fenugreek grows really fast. The best time to grow fenugreek in the UK is mid to late April. In fact it can be grown throughout the summer.
Start the seeds indoors and then transfer the pot outside once the temperature has stabilised.
When growing fenugreek in the US or Canada, check which zone you are in before you plant them outside. Frost will kill the early fenugreek shoots, therefore only move them outside once the risk of cold temperature and frost has disappeared.
Related Article: How to Grow Cherry Tomatoes Indoors
Steps to Grow Fenugreek in the UK
- Soak a handful of methi seeds overnight in cold water. Soaking them overnight will rehydrate the seeds and speed up germination.
- Fenugreek seeds do not require a lot of compost. Fill the pot half way up.
- Evenly spread the methi seeds in the pot. Cover the seeds with approximately 1 inch of compost and water it.
- Fenugreek enjoys a part sunny, part shady location. Therefore, move the pot to a location that is not sunny all the time.
- The seeds will start to sprout in about 10 to 14 days. Within 4 to 5 weeks, you will have a handful of methi plants that you can start to harvest.
- Water the pot regularly so that the soil does not dry out.
How to Harvest Fenugreek Leaves
Harvesting fenugreek leaves is fairly simple. Pick the mature leaves of the plant as they grow. However, keep the stem intact to allow more leaves to grow.
The lifespan of fenugreek is very short. Therefore, be sure to enjoy the richness of the flavourful leaves whilst it lasts.
At some point, the methi plant will produce tiny flowers and seeds. If you leave the seeds to form, they can be dried and used in the following year’s growing season.
Tip: Grow Coriander in Pots at the Same Time as Methi
Whilst you are growing methi, use the same method as above to grow coriander at home. Coriander is grown very similarly to methi. Therefore, if you were wondering how you can grow coriander, then follow the steps above. Coriander and fenugreek when used together, add richness to your curries.
Easy Recipe using Fenugreek
For methi chicken recipe you will need the following:
- 1 small chicken cut into small pieces
- Coarsely chopped fenugreek leaves, about 1 cupful
- 1 cup finely chopped spinach leaves
- 2 medium sized ripe tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 5 black peppercorns
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 small piece of cinnamon stick about 2 cm long
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoons natural yogurt
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- Finely chopped green or red chillies – one or two
- Salt to taste
Mix 1/2 cup of water with the natural yogurt. Keep aside.
Warm the oil, add the ginger, garlic, chopped chillies, cumin, cardamom, peppercorns and cinnamon stick. Sauté for one minute on medium heat.
Then add the chopped tomatoes and turmeric. Sauté for another minute or two.
Toss in the spinach and fenugreek leaves, sauté until the leaves start to wilt. Once the leaves have wilted, add the chicken and salt. Adjust the salt according to your taste.
Stir the chicken and cover the pot. Allow the chicken to cook on low heat for approximately 10 minutes. Then add the yogurt mix to the chicken.
Stir the pot and cook on slow until the chicken is fully cooked. This normally takes about 30 to 35 minutes.
Serve with naan bread.
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Environmental Benefits of Growing Methi at home
- Like most vegetables, methi travels many miles to get to the supermarket. Methi grows easily and in abundance. Therefore, if you are someone who loves to add methi leaves to your cooking, then grow it at home. Doing so will reduce the carbon footprint of fenugreek. You can freeze surplus fenugreek leaves and use it during winter.
Are you already growing methi in the garden? Share your experience and tips on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to hear from you.