Wordless Wednesday: One week before Spring #jemsgarden2017

Follow along with my 2017 garden with a wordless post every Wednesday.
#jemsgarden2017 Continue reading

Basil: How to Grow, Harvest and Store

Basil is a very aromatic and flavorful herb used in cooking and medicines. Basil is native to India, Asia and Africa but can now be found growing all over the world. Basil is part of the Mint plant family; some may … Continue reading

What are we going to do with all that spinach??

How to harvest and freeze spinach… This year we planted two rows of spinach, each row is about 30 feet long. This has provided enough fresh spinach for about six weeks. Spinach likes cooler weather (not hotter than 80 degrees … Continue reading

* Updated* The Grounded Gardener: French Marigolds (Tagetes Patula)

There are many kinds of Marigolds; today I am going to write about French Marigolds (Tagetes Patula). Marigold can be a lovely addition to any garden and can be planted in flower beds or pots. They bring a beautiful range of bright color into your life. I have noticed that my marigolds change color with their bloom cycle, first is normally a bright orange then once the orange blossoms die off, a deep red with yellowish orange stripe blossom blooms. I say my marigolds are now 3 generations old. Basically I haven’t bought a marigold seed or plants in 3 years. You 20150901_091151can easily collect seeds from your plants. It is good to continually collect your marigold seeds because commercially bought plants have neonicotinoids sprayed on them; which kills bees. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love the strong aroma and bright color of marigolds.

It is best to plant marigolds after the last frost. When planting marigolds you want to sow the seed about an inch into the soil of the pot or bed, making sure they are covered with dirt. I’ve gotten my best results when they are planted 3-4 inches apart. The seeds sprout fast, within 2 weeks; you will see budding and blooms in 6 to 8 weeks. They are perfect for edging walkways and driveways. They can bloom from late spring and can continue to bloom well into the fall. French marigolds can grow very bushy.

They are a very hardy flowering plant. Marigolds are so easy to grow; they don’t have a preference on soil. Actually, they will bloom more in poor to average soil, and grow larger foliage in very good soil. They enjoy drying out between watering which makes it a great plant to grow in high drought areas; but they grow well in any climate if they have enough space.20150901_091124-1

Since marigolds keep away many harmful bugs they make great companion plants. Planting marigolds between and around your vegetable garden will help keep an insect free crop; they deter many bugs including whitefly, cockroaches, and mosquitoes. After about 3-4 months of growth they start to secrete an insecticide from their roots, which is effective against nematodes and keel slugs. Marigolds not only deter bugs they are also not likely to suffer from many diseases.

Seed collecting is super easy with marigolds, the blossoms produce the seed. As the flower dies off the seed20150901_095926 forms inside the blossom; you just need to break open the dried flower head and you will see the long black seeds. There are many individual seeds in one blossom. At this point you can either sow more marigolds into another open space in your garden or store them in a cool dry place for next year.

My research about French Marigolds suggested they can be used for many different herbal remedies and are edible. I would suggest you do some research before you start just eating them. Some of the things I found they can be used for are; refreshing drinks and salads, their leaves and oil can be used for flavoring food, and the dried flowers can be used for coloring of food (alternative to Saffron) or dying eggs and fabric. Marigolds may even be used to treat indigestion, colic, severe constipation, coughs and dysentery. You can also use it externally to help sore eyes or rheumatism and in bug spray. The leaves should be used fresh and the flowers can be dried for later use. Remember; ALWAYS do your own research before using any herbal remedies.save the bees

So collect your seeds and save the bees.

Namaste <3

JEM