Soak the seeds in water overnight and then sow in pots by scattering them over the surface and covering them with a thin 0.5cm (1/4 inch) layer of potting soil. You can plant from spring through to early autumn/fall) but if you’re in a frosty area, wait until after the last frost. Seed germinates quite quickly in 2-7 days and looks a bit like clover when it’s small.
The fenugreek will grow into an annual bushy plant about 60cm (2ft) tall. The leaves are soft, have three lobes. Fenugreek prefers a well-drained slightly acid to neutral soil and grows best in full sun. It grows in most climate zones during summer, however in hotter areas, grow fenugreek for its leaves during the cooler months (like coriander/cilantro), otherwise it will bolt quickly to seed, and the leaves will also become bitter after hot days.
As fenugreek is a legume, it doesn’t need rich soil and you can also use it as a green manure crop to add nitrogen to the soil, by turning the plants back into the soil after you’ve harvested the seed pods.
Within about 3-4 weeks the seedlings are 140mm (6 inches) high and this is when you can harvest them as fenugreek microgreens or sprouts, by either cutting them or pulling them out by the roots. If you cut them, they will grow back more thickly. Use your fenugreek greens in salads, stir fries, boiled up into soup with other vegetables and spices.
You can also apply the same method and sow these seeds in a sunny spot of your Garden where they can grow into full size plants.
Watch out for crickets, snails and slugs which love to chomp on the leaves when they’re small. Keep it well watered on hot days and use a half strength fertilizer once a week to get it growing strongly.
The plant looks a bit like tall clover and the leaves are quite aromatic – on warm days they smell like maple syrup. By mid-late summer they will produce white-yellow pea flowers and then develop long, narrow bean-like pods (3cm long x 3mm wide) with the fenugreek seeds inside. The seeds are very hard and have pyramidal shape.