Companion planting with marigolds

Companion plants in productive gardens is something that is commonly used, however the full benefits of using marigolds as companion plants is often not fully understood by many gardeners. In this article we were talking about one of the most effective companion plants to use in the garden which is marigolds.

Marigolds are an extremely easy plants to grow from seed or alternatively many garden centres also sell large punnets of marigold seedlings which can be planted quickly and easily in the vegetable garden if you are busy growing other things.

What Are The Benefits Of Marigolds In A Productive Garden? 

There are numerous benefits associated with the addition of marigolds into a productive garden that will provide benefits in terms of the quantities and quality of the vegetables coming out of your garden.

1. Improved Yield

The single largest benefit associated with adding marigolds flower garden is that it will improve the yield are vegetables within your garden generally. This is primarily because marigolds, like any other flower will attract the presence of a range of pollinators such as bees.

An increase rate of pollination will increase the number of the fruit that is produced within the garden for flowering fruits such as courgettes, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers to name a few. However, it will have no significant influence upon the quantity that you received from leaf,  root, or stem crops such as onions, turnips, and lettuce for example

2. Improved Quality Of Produce 

The other significant benefit associated with adding marigolds to the garden is the improvement that you will see in the quality of produce that is harvested from the garden which will generally be less affected by pests.

The primary reason why the damage of pests will be reduced with the presence of marigolds is because they release a chemical called limonene, which is commonly found in the skins of citrus fruit. 

See also  Top 10 Fast-Growing Vegetables to Grow

This chemical has been shown to repel pest generally, however, specific studies have been carried out on tomatoes which have shown a reduction in the presence of whitefly which is a common pest for that particular vegetable.

But, it is important to note that while researchers found that effectiveness of marigolds in repelling passes was significant, it was not an effective method in repelling whiteflies once and infestation have occurred among with tomatoes. 

This suggests that best practise for marigolds would be to plant them at the same time but that productive seedlings are going into the garden as a preventative measure. 

3. Suppression Of Nematodes 

Another significant benefit associated with planting Marigold’s is the suppression of nematodes in the soil which can reduce the yield achieved for certain crops, marigolds are a great companion for tomatoes.  Nematodes are a worm like creature that resides in the soil, generally close to the surface. They are microscopic in nature and therefore too small to be seen with the naked eye. 

They cause problems for certain plants because they affect a plants ability to take up nutrients and water from the soil. This issue many present itself in different ways depending on the specific plant, however, common symptoms include a reduced size or yellowing of the leaves which affects productivity.

An article by Auburn University listed issues associated with nematodes and some of the best companion plants recommended to reduce the problem. At the top of the list was marigolds.

In addition to the planting of marigolds the university also recommended crop rotation as a general practice that would reduce the numbers of nematodes that build up in the soil as there are different species which affect specific crops to varying degrees.

4. Suppression Of Weeds 

Marigolds are also renowned for reducing the presence of weeds within a vegetable garden as well. The reason this occurs is primarily because the marigolds act as a ground cover between vegetables. This reduces the light available for weeds to grow and develop. 

Additionally, marigolds are particularly suited to this purpose because they are plants require relatively little moisture to survive and do not remove large amount of nutrients from the soil. This means that they have little influence upon the development of the vegetables nearby which makes him an ideal choice for this purpose. 

See also  The Anatomy of Seeds

How to grow marigolds from seed 

Marigolds are generally readily available for most garden centres as seedlings but the most effective way to grow them is from seed. As mentioned earlier in the article marigolds are most effective as a pest repellent when they are planted at the same stage that most vegetables go into the ground to ensure that pests do not get a foot hold. 

Therefore, it is advisable to plant the marigold seeds at approximately the same time that most vegetable seeds go into the ground to ensure that seedlings are developing at the same time as the vegetables that you are trying to protect.

To do this it is best to plant marigold seeds around 4 to 6 weeks prior to the last frost. At this stage of the year, because the temperatures will be relatively low, it is best to plant them into a seed tray.

To start this process fill the seed tray with good quality seed raising mix and firm the soil into each module. This ensures that a firm plug is created which will make it easier to transplant the plants later on.  

Sowing Marigold Seeds

Plant 2 to 3 Marigold seeds per module at a depth of half an inch and then water the seeds in well. Typically, Marigold seeds, in relative the warm conditions, will take approximately 7 to 10 days to start to appear. If multiple seedlings appear in a single module then removed the weaker seedlings leaving one plant per module to grow on and develop.

Marigold seedlings will take approximately 4 to 6 weeks to develop to a size of a sufficiently large to plant out into the garden. At this stage, it is recommended that you plant them out once the weather is sufficiently warm at the same time that you are planting your vegetable seedlings into the garden.

Marigolds like most vegetable seedlings prefer a full sun location which will maximise the amount of flowering that occurs. 

Looking After Marigolds During The Growing Season

To maximise the performance of the marigolds and their effect on your vegetables it is important to ensure that you regularly deadhead the plants to remove any spent flowers. This will encourage the continual flowering throughout the season.

See also  Growing and Propagating Strawberries

Marigolds will typically take around 8 to 10 weeks to flower from the day that the seeds are planted. If the plants are maintained regular they will continue to flower consistently throughout the season until the first frost hits in autumn.

So it is important to tend to both the marigolds and the vegetables you are growing at the same time to get the very best results from the garden. 

Latest Articles