Monday, August 13, 2012

Marigolds (Self-Sowing Annual # 7)


My Aunt is the queen of marigolds. She has the strongest, brightest, most resilient marigolds you will ever see. So, of course, she is the one I got my seeds from.

Marigolds are not just pretty to look at, but are also very beneficial to your other plants. Farmers and gardeners have long known that marigolds make important companion plants all over the garden. Not only does the scent of the marigold repel animals and insects, but the underground workings of the marigold will repel nematodes (microscopic worms) and other pests for up to 3 years.

How to Harvest Marigold Seeds



Planting Marigold Seeds

 



Prepare a planting spot where the marigolds will receive a minimum of six to eight hours of bright sunlight per day. Without strong sunlight, marigolds will become weak and spindly. Marigolds prefer average soil, but the soil must be well drained, as marigolds won't tolerate wet soil. To prepare the planting spot, remove rocks, then use a hoe or tiller to loosen the top of the top 8 inches of soil. Rake the soil until it's smooth and level.



Scatter marigold seeds over the surface of the soil, then cover the seeds with a light dusting of soil no more than 1/8 inch thick. Alternatively, create shallow furrows with the corner of your hoe, then plant the seeds in the furrow. Water the planting area using a garden hose and a fine spray nozzle to avoid washing the seeds away. Continue to water the soil regularly and keep the soil evenly moist until the seeds germinate.



Eating Marigolds

 

The bright petals of signet marigolds add color and a spicy tang to salads and other summer dishes.



The flower petals are sometimes cooked with rice to impart the color (but unfortunately not the flavor) of saffron.



'Mexican Mint Marigold' (sometimes called Texas tarragon) is a sturdy little herb that can be substituted for French tarragon in cooking. The leaves have a tarragon-like flavor, with hints of anise. This species has been long used in Latin America for tea as well as seasoning.



Marigolds are also great cut flowers and dry beautifully!






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