Edible Flowers - Pot Marigolds!
How to Grow Marigolds
Growing Marigolds in Your Garden
Marigolds are a very popular gardening favorite. Marigolds are often grown as a companion plant in the garden. Marigolds are annual plants that do well both in the garden and in containers. When growing marigolds, you will normally have flowers from June until the first hard frost.
There are a several different types of plants that are all commonly called "marigolds."
Pot Marigolds: also called Calendula, grows unscented leaves. These flowers are used in salads, stews, soups, etc. The flowers and shoots of this variety has stimulant and diaphoretic properties. Long ago, folks used a tea as a home remedy for ulcers. The florets were used in poultices for healing wounds.
Tagetes Marigolds: Includes African and French marigolds, which are very strongly scented. These flowers are not eaten. However, they offer an organic method of nematode control in your garden. When these marigolds are tilled into the garden (at the end of the season), they are effective in keeping nematodes from your root crop plants the following gardening season.
Also, growing Marigolds (tagetes) around your vegetable garden (or as a border to your patio) will help keep pesky insects as bay.
Marsh Marigolds: these are in a completely different family and not addressed in this article.
How to Grow Marigolds - Climate and Growing Conditions
For best results, grow marigolds in full sun.
Consider the height of the variety selected, when deciding where to grow marigolds in your garden. Some are quite tall, while the dwarf varieties are short.
How to Grow Marigolds - Preparing the Garden Soil
Marigolds grow best in light, well-drained soil.
Note: French (tagetes) varieties grow best in poor soil.
How to Grow Marigolds - Planting
In late spring, plant marigold seeds in the garden. Scatter the seeds, and lightly cover with soil. Water gently (misting is best), so as not to wash the seeds away. Keep the soil moist during germination.
Marigolds should grow from the seeds in 1-2 weeks. When the marigolds appear, thin the marigolds to one plant per foot.
Note: When the first flower buds appear, pinch-off the branch, to encourage the marigold plant to grow bushier (instead of so straggly).
How to Grow Marigolds - Watering
How to Grow Marigolds - Fertilizing
Apply a dose of liquid fertilizer (such as compost tea, liquid kelp, etc.) mid-way through the gardening season.
How to Grow Marigolds - Challenges
Marigolds (namely calendula) can suffer from: aphids, cabbageworms, slugs and Japanese beetles.
Marigolds often self-sow. If you don't want them to do so, be sure to remove the spent flower-heads.
How to Grow Marigolds - Harvesting
Tagetes Marigold (see description above) flowers make simple but cheerful cuttings. However, the scent is sometimes disagreeable to some people.
Pot Marigold (see description above) - harvest the flower heads to use in salads. Dry them for flavoring stews and soups, or use as a saffron substitute.
Note: the advice and information contained herein is based upon our experience and study. As with any advice, please apply at your own discretion.