Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Marigolds planted in the garden are happy, sun-shinny flowers, they are easy to start from seed and grow without much coddling.  Several varieties of marigolds can serve several purposes.  Thirty years ago in my organic garden I had an unusual year for aphids, hordes and hordes of aphids.  They were so thick working in the garden became almost unbearable.  One evening out pulling weeds, I happened to notice at dusk they all swarmed over to my large 24" tall yellow marigolds.  Every evening for several weeks I would wait until just after dark, break the stem off the large marigolds and place the flowers and at least a kazillion aphids in a plastic bag.  Tying the bag tight I would place it where the sun could COOK those little pests.  My garden was clear of the bugs in a very short time.  Marigolds will always be planted in my gardens.
Keep in mind that to benefit your garden, you must purchase the marigolds with a distinct smell.  The French Marigold ( Tagetes patula) and the African (Tagetes spp.) help mask the sent of vegetables which may confuse flying pests.  Their roots also emit a substance that repels nematodes in the immediate area.  Nematodes, microscopic roundworms, make little knots along roots that result in stunted carrots, potatoes and other root crops. Nematodes also attack the roots of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and other plants.  Affected plants grow poorly and may die. For serious problems plant the whole area with marigolds the prior year before planting crops.
The South American, sweet marigold, (Tagetes lucida) makes and excellent substitute for French Tarragon.  Note:  I have not tried this.

Marigolds stand as a cheerful barrier along my garden path.

American marigolds can be tall plants, growing up to 36".  They have large, fully double flowers in yellow, gold and orange.  French marigolds have smaller flowers and usually only grow to 12" high.  They come in all colors from a deep orangeish red, to bright yellow.  I like to plant the bi-colored red and orange varieties.  Triploids, a cross between the French and American marigolds have larger flowers, but grow about the height of the French Marigold.  Signet (Tagetes tenuifolia) bear many small flowers.  Marigolds also come in single-flowered varieties, 'Disco' and 'Espana'.

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