Out of all the different flowers I grow I would probably say marigolds are one of my favorites. Mainly because they are very easy to grow, they don't mind the heat, and they bloom over a long season. They can also attract beneficial insects to the garden which is also a big plus. Marigolds are grown as annuals either from potted plants or from seed. I personally grow from seed because I can grow a lot more plants for a fraction of the cost. I usually start my seeds in the soil around mid spring once the soil is warm and temperatures are more stable. You can transplant them if you like, but marigolds are very hearty and come up well in the soil. I usually plant mine in old wooden barrels where they cascade over the tops it's very showy.
The soil mixture I use consists of top soil, peat moss and compost about 30% of each. Then I just rake back some soil, sprinkle the seeds and cover lightly. And in about a week or so I normally begin to see some seedlings. You can add some fish emulsion if you like to help them come along nicely. Make sure to keep the soil moist and they will thrive.
Once they begin to bloom you can shortly after begin saving seeds for next year. The process is very easy. In the picture below you will see some buds that I collected the other day. As you can see the flowers are well past their prime, the petals have died back and the bud is ready for harvesting some seeds. When it comes to removing the old flower buds simply cut them below the bud or snap them off. Just be careful not to pull up the plant if you decide to snap off the old blooms instead of cut them.
Once I have harvested the old blooms what I like to do is hold the bud tightly and pull off the dead petals. You can also snip them off with scissors.
Then simply open the bud vertically and you will see the all the flower seeds.
Once you have removed them you can allow the seeds to dry a few days in a drafty place out of direct sunlight. After they are dry place them in a bag of some sort and put them in a cool dry place.
And you just repeat the process again next year. It's that easy!
So until next time Happy Gardening!
By the way we do have some marigold seeds available for purchase under the herb and flower tab on our homepage.