Grow French Marigold
For Salads, Scent and Defences

The French Marigold (Tagetes Patula) is a flower that's gaining popularity once again.

It's easily grown in the garden and being a prolific herb with an abundance of seeds will adorn your garden year after year after year.

How to Grow French Marigold

Each flower head holds about a hundred or more seeds which resemble little miniature wooden paint brushes with bristles and lacquered handles.

With the Creator as painter, and the garden as a blank canvas they certainly paint a brilliant and glorious profusion of yellow, gold and red flowers wherever you sow them.

They like rich loam soil but will tolerate poor. Make holes about ½ inch deep and put a seed in each then cover them with a thin layer of compost.

The plants will grow to about 6 to 12 inches in height so keep this in mind when planting with other crops.

You can grow French Marigold indoors in pots. Whether inside your home or in a heated greenhouse sow the seeds in February. Harden off and plant out in late Spring or even May when there is least chance of frost.

The sun is vital for them to grow and flower so if you plan on growing in a garden, patio, or balcony, make sure the sun hits the spot most of the day.

To keep the herb flowering longer, dead head often. This means pulling the dried flower heads off. They snap off very easily encouraging the plant to produce more flower buds.

French Marigold a Useful Garden Herb?

Include this herb to your salad garden for its edible flowers and decorativeness. A few plucked petals in a summer salad will give it new shades of colour and added zing.

Use the flowers to make a bright yellow dye for wool and other textiles.

Can also be used in potpourri.

Is it a garden pest deterrent?

Not only are we delighted with the effects of this herb above ground but also interested in what goes on in the subterranean world.

Above ground the strong pungent smell deters aphids, whereas the nectar attracts lacewings and ladybirds which is great because their larvae hunt aphids.

Underground, nematodes (eelworms) are a pest for potato or tomato growers. Allotment growers swear by it that planting French Marigolds will deter them.

Apparently the herb secrete a natural substance that deadens a mechanism. Without this mechanism functioning nematodes cant detect their host plant. (a.)

Some argue that it doesn't work but since there is no commercial insecticide for nematodes and farmers, gardeners and South American Indians are confident enough to use it, there is no harm in you trying this method too. They will bring some colour to your veggie patch if nothing else!

Other Uses

Did your egg yolk sport a nice deep yellow colour this morning? It may well be that the chickens were fed with chicken feed laced with dried French marigold flowers to enhance their colour.

Still on the subject of food, Saffron an expensive herb which is used to flavour and colour exotic dishes is often bulked up with dried ground marigold petals which also produce bright yellow pigment often called the "poor man's saffron".

References:

a. The Complete Book of Herbs by Lesley Bremness pg.138

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  3. French Marigold

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