Marigolds are a long blooming annual plant. The plant is a native to Mexico and there are numerous varieties to choose from. They are easily started from seed or can be bought from the garden centers ready started. They come in a variety of colours – with orange and yellow being the most common. The plants prefer full sun and will grow in dry to moist conditions.
Marigolds make fantastic companion plants – plant them everywhere throughout your garden to deter many insects and slugs. I like to plant them around the tomato plants. It is the scent of the marigolds that deters insects and bugs. But the root system will deter nematodes.
Snipping off the spent flowers will encourage many more blooms. But towards the end of the season let the flower die off and dry out to a seedpod. After drying for a few days pick and split apart to find the seeds inside. Pulling the top or dried flower petals will give you the seeds, (black on one end). They always remind me of a sheath of arrows.
Sow seeds in average garden soil in a sunny location after the last frost. Thin seedlings went they are about 5 cm. high. Seeds can also be started inside about 4 or 5 weeks before the time to plant outside. Marigold seedings are prone to dampening off so be careful not to over water.
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