Growing Marigolds

Latest Update 8th December 2016.

Marigolds
  • Red Marietta Marigolds are compact, easy to grow, pretty little plants.
  • They are an old heirloom French marigold, whose seeds are easily saved for future use and for epigenetic improvement.  They also self seed if left to die back naturally.
  • I grow them as an insect pest repellent.
Details.
  • Variety:                                                      Red Marietta
  • Family:                                                       Asteracea
  • Garden bed type:                                         Ecobed.
  • Recommended soil pH:                                5.5 - 7.5.
  • Minimum Sun per Day:                                 8 hours.
  • Plant Spacings (centres):                             250mm.
  • Good Companions:                                      Tomatoes, Capsicum, Cucumber, Lettuce.
  • Climate:                                                      Warm Temperate.
  • Geographic Hemisphere:                              Southern. 
Growing Conditions.
  • Marigolds needs full sun.
  • They are grown annually from seed in spring.
  • They grow well in moist fertile soil, and will benefit from a generous application of mulch.
Soil Preparation.
  • Clear some space, apply a 60mm top dressing of homemade compost and cover with 50mm of straw mulch
  • Leave the prepared bed for 4 weeks to build up microbial activity before planting.
Growing Instructions.
  • Sow seeds in August on the surface of an organic seed growing mix in a mini pot, and lightly cover with finely sieved home made compost.
  • Soak the mini pot for an hour in a tray containing 10mm of water (preferably rainwater).  The water will wick up into the soil without flooding it. 
  • Sink the mini pot up to its rim in an EcoPropagator's wicking media.  This will keep the soil moist until the seedlings are ready to transplant.  Protect the seedlings against frost. 
  • After 4 weeks transplant the seeds individually into organic potting mix in jiffy pots and returned them to the propagator.
  • After a further 4 weeks move the mulch in the prepared bed to one side ready for planting.
  • Plant them 250mm apart in their pots and water them in generously.
  • Replace the mulch as soon as the Marigolds are established.
  • A foliar spray of aerated compost tea is applied every 4 weeks. 
Organic Pest Control.
  • Greenhouse whitefly.  
    • Aerated compost tea improves the plants resistance to whitefly damage.
    • Exclusion netting is very effective against whitefly, but they are very small and will occasionally breach your defences, so you will need to check your crop regularly.  
    • Control any infestations by spray your crop thoroughly with organic horticultural oil (Eco-oil in Australia).
    • Spray again in a few days to ensure second generation whitefly do not survive.
  • Aphids (greenfly). 
    • Use the same method described above for whitefly.
  • General.
    • Repeated foliar sprays of aerated compost tea should deter most airborne pests and diseases.
    • Proper soil preparation and regular applications of home made compost should control soil borne pests.