Did you know Marigolds naturally deter pests from your veggie garden?
Common Name: Marigold (Tagetes)
Seed Saving Level: Advanced ~ insect-pollinated, can cross-pollinate
Planting: Marigolds are one of the toughest summer annuals for Arizona and helps deter pests, so they can be added to vegetable plots. Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep and 6 inches apart in full sun or partial shade. Use nitrogen sparingly; it will produce more foliage than flowers. The growing tips should be pinched off before the plant starts to flower to encourage more flowers and bushiness. Allow soil to dry somewhat between watering.
Harvesting: Marigolds grow up to 12 inches tall with eye-catching, daisy-like flowers in shades of yellow and orange. They’re sensitive to temperature and humidity changes and close when it is dark or rain is expected.
Seed Saving: Let the seeds mature on the plant once the petals have faded. There is no seed pod; the seeds are held on a rounded seedhead and the seeds curl inward like claws. At first they are green, then they turn light brown, spiky, and woody. Cut off the seed heads and pick off the "claws." Let dry on paper for another week.
Sources: Seedswap (2013) by Josie Jeffery, Arizona Cooperative Extension:
Book and eBook recommendations:
- Marigolds and Nematode Management, opens a new window – June 16, 2004, Jeff Schalau, Backyard Gardener, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Arizona Cooperative Extension