The Gardeners Kitchen: Much Ado About Marigolds
Marigolds Stole My Heart
I have a secret, one that I must now share. Really, it is nothing to be ashamed of, just a bit embarrassing., I have a serious thing for marigolds, not so serious that my wife has to worry but serious enough that I think every garden needs them.
The Portuguese first discovered marigolds during the 16th century in Central America. They are responsible for introducing them into both Europe and India where they are widely cultivated.
Delhi, India is one of India’s major flower trade centers and marigolds arrive there from all over India.
The Marigold, or as it is formally known (Tagetes spp.), is a very well known bedding plant. When you go to a local nursery at the beginning of the season, you can see their maroon and orange blossoms sitting seductively in their pots, waiting for you to take them home..
If you are looking for an attractive cover crop look no further than the marigold which produces a substance called alpha-terthienyl. Alpha-terthienyl will help with the reduction of root-knot nematodes and other disease promoting organisms, such as fungi, bacteria, insects, and some viruses.
This help is not likely to arrive in year one so eb prepared to add them to your garden each year, they are an annual and use lots they are inexpensive and gave back more than you pay out.
African (T. erecta ) and French marigolds (T. patula ) are the most commonly used marigold. species.
In general, insects do not seem to appreciate marigolds, possibly because the marigold has a very distinctive odour which only highly refined sense can appreciate. This fragrance is another good reason to include the marigold in your garden; it makes a great companion plant.
Now slugs simply adore marigolds and they like nothing better than to snack on the leaves which can work to your favour if you maintain a regular slug patrol you can pick them off, wear gloves and squash them underfoot, do not wear your best shoes.
Insects largely avoid Marigolds. Insects do not like its pungent odor. This is why Marigolds make good companion plants
Early morning after a damp night is the best time you go out into your garden on slug patrol.
Another good reason for growing marigolds is that they are edible well the varieties such as 'Lemon Gem' and 'Tangerine Gem' are tasty, other varieties not so much, they won’t kill you but you won’t enjoy the snack.
Remember it is only the petals (ray flowers) that are edible, not the center or disc flowers which can be used as a garnish.
The gems have a lemony scent and a citrus flavour with a hint of tarragon.
When you make your next trip to the plant centre pick up a flat of marigolds, take them home and give them a chance to win your heart.
- Marigolds (
Family: Compositae Scientific Name: Tagetes sp. Origin: South America-Argentina and New Mexico Classification: Annual, herb
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