Marigolds, or tagetes (Tagetes) - these are very common unpretentious annual plants of the Asteraceae family. Their homeland is the tropical regions of Central America. In their homeland, tagetes is still considered a magical plant and is used in religious ceremonies.
These plants are thermophilic, drought-resistant, prefer a sunny location, but easily tolerate partial shade. However, marigolds grow best on fertile loamy soils with sufficient moisture in the first half and in dry, hot weather in the second half of summer.
In addition to all this, marigolds tolerate transplanting well with a clod of earth in bloom throughout the summer. Therefore, they can be successfully used to replace dead plants or to close an empty space in the garden.
The only big drawback is that they are afraid of frost. Their seedlings die at -1 ° С, and adult plants - at -2 ° С.
Plants are compact or spreading, with a pronounced main shoot or several lateral shoots. The root system of plants is fibrous, well-branched, powerful.
Marigolds bloom profusely from June to frost. Their flowers are collected in double and non-double inflorescences-baskets of light yellow, dark orange, red-brown and other colors. All marigolds have a pleasant, rather strong specific smell.
In garden culture, three types of marigolds are of greatest importance - rejected, erect and thin-leaved.
- Marigolds rejected (Tagetespatula) - these are compact, highly branched, spreading and leafy plants up to 40 cm high. Yellow or orange inflorescences-baskets are located singly on the tops of stems and branches.
- Marigolds erect (Tageteserecta) - these are powerful, highly branching plants, sometimes reaching heights of up to 100 cm, with a powerful root system. Plants blooming profusely, with large double inflorescences. The color of the inflorescences is very diverse - from cream and lemon to bright orange.
- Marigolds are thin-leaved (Tagetestenuifolia) They are distinguished by graceful, small strongly dissected leaves and a huge number of small non-double inflorescences with a diameter of 2-3 cm. Inflorescences of the most varied colors - yellow, orange, red, etc. They bloom profusely, and earlier than other species. Buds and young flowers are always on the periphery of the bush, and faded inflorescences are inside, which constantly gives the plant a neat appearance.
Sowing seeds and growing marigold seedlings
In the conditions of the Urals and other cold regions, it is best to plant ready-made marigold seedlings. For this, the seeds must be sown in the second half of April, their shoots will appear in 6-8 days. When a second leaf appears, seedlings can be dived into boxes, pots or into the soil of the greenhouse at a distance of 5–6 cm. During the period of growing seedlings, it is advisable to make 1–2 fertilizing with nitrophos.
Seedlings are planted in open ground at the beginning of June, when there is no threat of returning cold weather, at a distance of 10–25 cm from each other, depending on the height of adult plants. You should not thicken the plantings of marigolds, otherwise the plants will not give lush flowering.
Caring for marigolds is simple - loosening the soil, weeding, moderate watering, 1-2 additional fertilizing with full mineral fertilizer. Marigolds do not respond well to the introduction of fresh manure, since the plants will grow vigorously to the detriment of flowering. But if the plants have withered from lack of moisture, then after abundant watering they quickly restore their previous appearance.
In order for marigolds to bloom magnificently and for a long time, faded inflorescences must be cut off. Marigolds grow and bloom profusely until the first frost, after which they quickly die.
Marigolds for all occasions
Marigolds feel great and look harmonious in any flower beds. They grow well in pots, which allows them to be grown on a balcony or loggia.And in autumn, especially beautiful flowering bushes of marigolds can be transplanted into pots, and they will grow beautifully throughout the winter.
Marigolds also stand well and stand for a long time in the cut. And the inflorescences of terry forms of marigolds are easy to dry and use for winter compositions with dried flowers.
But all this is mostly familiar to the gardener. But marigolds are not only a beautiful flower, they are an excellent protector of garden plants from pests. It has very strong phytoncidal properties that inhibit many soil pests and heal the soil. That is why it is useful to plant it throughout the site to repel pests.
According to the observations of many gardeners, even the "ubiquitous" Colorado potato beetle dislikes marigolds. Therefore, if the potato plot is “fenced off” with marigolds and a strip of low-growing tagetes is planted every 7–8 rows of potatoes, then it will not be for the Colorado potato beetle.
Do not like marigolds and nematodes and wireworms. It has been established that marigolds growing in the garden completely suppress the development of nematodes at a distance of 60 cm. This is one of the amazing properties of marigolds.
Therefore, on a garden bed with strawberries or on a potato plot, it is necessary to plant low-growing varieties of marigolds in the soil more often. After that, not only a nematode, but also a weevil will not encroach on your strawberries. And in the fall, before frost, the plants are crushed and dug up together with the soil.
Marigolds are also used to fight aphids. Marigolds planted near cucumber beds noticeably restrain the attacks of aphids. An infusion of marigolds is effective in combating diseases of asters and levkoy, it is widely used to disinfect gladioli bulbs. And by planting marigolds near the asters, you will save them from the black leg.
In general, heavily infested areas can be sown with marigolds, and after 60–70 days they can be embedded in the soil and left in this form for 25–30 days. Then you can plant any crop here, or in the fall after frosts, which have already damaged marigolds, also grind them and embed them in the soil.
In many cases, marigolds are also harmful to weeds. They successfully suppress wheatgrass, horsetail and a number of other weeds. After marigolds, the soil is enriched and cleared of weeds.
However, you must be careful to use marigolds in large quantities in garden plantings, because they can act depressingly on nearby vegetable crops, since marigolds release toxic substances. Especially they should not be planted next to legumes, because both beans and peas react sharply negatively to such a neighborhood.
But few gardeners know about another important use of marigolds. Pretty, but not pretentious, flowers have properties that put them on a par with coriander, ginger, basil.
This is an exquisite spice, although it is better known in the Transcaucasus, as well as in Latin America and Western Europe. Marigolds are especially widely used in Georgian cuisine, where they call "Imeretian saffron".
Marigolds erect and deflected is an essential oil culture widespread in many countries. The leaves of these two types of tagetes have long been used as a spice. They are eaten fresh in salads, in vegetable dishes, together with bright flowers, they are put in jars when salting cucumbers, zucchini, etc.
And the taste of marigold flowers resembles the taste of watercress. Infusions of marigold flowers are widely used for coloring various dishes and sauces, butter, dough, cheese. For harvesting for the winter, cut off whole inflorescences. They are dried and stored in a closed jar.
As you can see, marigolds are one of the few plants that can not only decorate a plot, an apartment, disinfect the soil or destroy pests, but also provide a product that radically improves the taste of our food. Try to make Imeretian saffron. Spice lovers should like its exquisite taste!
"Ural gardener", No. 6, 2018