The Chelsea Chop - An Allotment Version


I never got round to trying the 'Chelsea Chop' on my Sedums and Geraniums in the garden as I'd intended this year. Luckily Patientgardener did and gives a detailed account of her experiences here. However, I did find myself needing to use it under more unusual circumstances - on the allotment just before going on holiday. I tried growing Nasturtiums as a companion plant in my first year and they've self-seeded themselves ever since. I don't mind - they're attractive and we eat the leaves and flowers in salads during the summer. Normally they don't get going until July, but this year they're well underway already and were competing too well with my potatoes. So out came the scissors and they've been chopped right back as you can see below - click on the picture if you want to see it in more detail. I did this on a sunny day and found the Nasturtiums wrought revenge for their treatment - the plentiful juice that dripped from the scissors onto my hand produced quite a burning sensation. I wasn't aware that Nasturtiums could irritate the skin - has anyone else had a similar experience?



  1. Glad to see I gave you some courage!

  2. Well - I went and experimented (on your behalf) on the very few nasturtiums that I had chopped one up and rubbed it on my hands .... nothing .... no irritation. But then it was only one small stem - so maybe you had nasturtium overload on your skin as well as your plot.

  3. This is just a guess, but nasturtiums do have quite a peppery taste and like watercress (Nasturtium officinale) they are related to mustard. Whatever creates that fiery taste is bound to be an irritant and if you'd cut back quite a lot, you'd have been exposed to quite a big dose of it. I would wear gloves, or cover up, next time, just in case you've become sensitised.

  4. I didn't know it was called "the Chelsea Chop." I've been doing this sort of thing for several years now after reading "The Well-tended Perennial Garden." I just tried a modified version of it on my mom's Clematis. It is coming into full bloom now, but she wants it blooming at the end of July for my sister's wedding. I hope it's not too late for that. I've never cut back Nasturtiums, so I can't say whether they are an irritant.

  5. What am I talking about? That was complete rubbish. Tropaeolum aren't related to Nasturtium at all. This is what comes of doing things at quarter past midnight. I'm going to give up this blogging lark. Your word verification (zrkbxooo, in this instance) makes more sense than I do.

  6. I will be more wary of nasturtiums after reading this as I various skin allergies. I have nasturtiums growing at the allotment - sowed them once and that was it - lots of seedlings every year. Have not had any problems with them so far but will be careful now. Thanks for the warning.

  7. PG - I needed it!

    Karen - could be, but I think the sun was a factor in the reaction

    Victoria - I think they're in the same family? So I think you're right first time around? I HATE wearing gloves though...

    MMD - it's just the English version because of the timing of when it's done - just after the Chelsea flower show

    Anna - I think you'll be OK. It's just that they've been exceptional here this year


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