The 2012 Burpee Seed Catalog – Part II

Queen Sophia French marigold closeup by OrganicNation

In the last post, TheGardenLady discussed  some of the flower part of the Burpee Seed Catalog.   In this post, TheGardenLady will talk a little more about Burpee’s flowers, but more about their vegetables.

In the vegetable part of the catalog you will find sweet corn that is red, tiny golden colored peppers, bright orange tomatoes, white tomatoes and swiss chard that is rainbow colored – all Burpee Exclusives. Together with the regular colored vegetables and such vegetables as the purple carrots or blue potatoes, your harvest can decorate your house as fancifully as any bouquet of flowers. You have to see this catalog to believe what is being offered for this year’s garden.

Continue reading “The 2012 Burpee Seed Catalog – Part II”

Should One Buy or Harvest Seeds?

morning glory seeds by oceandesetoiles

TheGardenLady received this question from someone called the Chicago Urban Gardener:

 I recently read and enjoyed your article on morning glories, in which you describe how you start the plant from seed. I was curious to know, however, whether you buy your seeds or harvest them from the previous year’s plants (I know that morning glories quite often self-seed). If the latter, how does one harvest and store morning glory seeds for planting next season? Do you have any general recommendations for collecting and storing seeds from annuals and perennials?

When I was a child we always collected the marigold and zinnia seeds and a few vegetable seeds. And we were scrupulous in digging up gladiola bulbs to replant the following spring. We were very frugal.

I do collect some seeds but not many. Propagating by seeds is fun, educational and a challenge. But it is not something that I really do. My gardening emphasis is on having flowers, not seeds. Toward that end, I deadhead flowers to force more flowers to bloom. This means I try NOT  to allow many plants to go into seed. Of course, at the end of the growing season you often find seeds even if you were not trying to produce seeds.

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Protecting Marigolds from Snails and Slugs

Marigolds avec Snail by MosaicMarj

TheGardenLady received a question from Lou about protecting marigolds from snails and slugs.

Marigolds love dry hot weather. If they are happy, they self seed and thrive, as those in my garden do. I haven’t planted them for a few years and they are coming up all over the place.

That being said, slugs and snails do love them. But garden snails and slugs enjoy wet or damp dark places where they can hide then come out in the dark night to eat.  See here.  You wouldn’t see them unless you went out at night with a flashlight. If you have a lot of snails and slugs, you can lose all your marigolds.

So, the first thing you want to do is clean up any and all the debris that is around the plants so that there is no place for the snails and slugs to hide and for air to circulate to dry the environment where the plants are. You really don’t want mulch to retain moisture around the base of the marigolds. This is more difficult when your marigolds are in planters that are tightly packed with flowers and when you create a planting environment with different kinds of plants that need different types of care. The marigolds don’t want or need a lot of watering as some other plants might need. Marigolds like dryness. Snails and slugs like damp soft soil and darkness.

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Letting Go of Dying Marigolds

Lifeless by Rodrigo Neves

On Monday, TheGardenLady wrote a post that answered a question from a Cassie about getting marigolds to bloom.  Here’s a follow-up question from Cassie.

So should I just throw away the pathetic looking stems and the root ball?

Cassie, I would not waste any more of your precious time on the pathetic looking stems and root ball of your dying or dead marigold. TheGardenLady would let your marigold plant go to plant heaven where all beloved plants, I hope, some day end up. Don’t just throw away the pathetic looking plant but add it to your compost pile so that it can become rich compost material that will help in creating great new soil to help grow the new beautiful plants you will now plant. Go to a local garden store where they sell marigold plants or buy a seed packet of marigold seeds and start anew. It will be much more of a rewarding experience starting over with new plants or seeds. It is relatively cheap to buy marigold plants. You will be much more assured of success with the new plantings whereas trying to nurse a pathetic looking plant back to health can be very frustrating. With rarer or more expensive plants it might be more of a worthwhile challenge to doctor them. But even the best gardeners would not work so hard to rescue a marigold unless it was a very, very rare marigold.

Getting Marigolds to Bloom Again

Slowly… by Dialed-in!

TheGardenLady received this question from Cassie.

I recieved some  marigolds from a friend. They were orange and did not seem to be as big or sturdy as usual marigolds are. They bloomed well until it got too cold out.  I kept saving the flowers for the seed pods, and they grew very well, but they did not do too well during the Fall and Winter; so now I just have what looks like 3 long, thin sticks coming out of the ground.  Is there anything I can do so they will bloom again?

Marigolds are a hot weather flowering plant. They only do well in the Fall and Winter if you live in a zone like Mexico. If you live in an area that has cold or freezing Falls and Winters, your marigold plants will die. Then you will have to replant marigold seeds or the plants in your garden when the weather is warm enough next late spring. If you had taken the plants into your house to try to overwinter them, you would need a warm house with loads of sunshine shining on the marigolds. Without the ideal conditions indoors your marigold plants will look long and leggy and not very nice if they live. Most houses are not sunny enough to grow marigolds well indoors. You really need a warm greenhouse to grow them properly.

On a cold morning in October by joeke pieters

When the weather is warm enough – which means no more frost in your area – you should buy more seeds or marigold plants. If you buy a packet of seeds, you can start them indoors about six to eight weeks before the frost is estimated to be out of the ground in your area and then plant the seedlings outdoors after the last frost. Frost will kill marigolds. Or you can wait and plant Marigold seeds directly in the soil when the ground is warm enough. Generally the seed packet will tell you the best time to sow the seeds outdoors in your area. If you want to buy marigold plants, they are sold in plastic containers.  Your local nursery will sell them when it is time to plant them outdoors in the late spring or early summer.

TheGardenLady thinks you should toss the pathetic looking stems that remain of your friend’s marigolds. Of course, if you have some reason to want to save them- because your friend gave them to you- you can always try to salvage them. Provided the stems are not dead, when the weather is really warm you can stick what is left of your Marigold plant in the soil in your garden in a sunny location. If those pathetic plants live, you will be lucky, and if they die, you can tell your friend you tried. But it seems like a waste of time when marigolds are really one of the least expensive flowering plants to buy.

To Eliminate Bad Insects You Must Attract Good Insects

Lady Bugs by Roger Lynn

TheGardenLady just attended an entomology lecture the other day. Insects are interesting and one has to learn how to deal with them both with indoor and outdoor plants. The safest way to get rid of the bad insect pests is to encourage good insects to your place. These beneficial insects do an amazing job keeping your garden pest free. By using pesticides or insecticides, you know that you will be killing off the good insects with the bad. So unless it is the last resort, you want to avoid poisons. You want to know how to encourage good insects by planting plants that will support the beneficial insects at all stages of their lives.

What are some of the good/beneficial insects? We all know about honey bees, butterflies and Lady bugs but here is a more complete list with photos of other beneficial insects.

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Transplanting a Marigold Plant in Brooklyn

Marigolds To Boot by bestfor / richard
Marigolds To Boot by bestfor / richard

TheGardenLady received this question from Courtney.

I have a marigold plant outstide in a large planter that is still flowering (I live in Brooklyn, NY and it’s been in the high 50s-60s degrees lately). But I would like to transplant this plant to a pot so I can keep in inside during the winter…will this work? How deep of a pot would I need? I don’t have a ton of sunlight in my apartment. Please advise.

If you want to save the marigold plant you should bring in your marigold before it freezes. Not knowing how many plants you want to save, when you dig the plants out of the planter,  get a pot large enough. Put them into soil that is at least twice as deep as the root mass but don’t plant the flowers lower than they were in the planter. The extra soil will be for both for the roots to grow down and the plant’s need of nutrition from the new soil. Give the plants some soil around the sides. Tamp the soil around the marigolds so that they are firmly in the soil and water them. Marigolds really do need a lot of sunlight- so find your sunniest location, a south window is best, or get grow lights. But don’t be discouraged if the marigolds die.

TheGardenLady thinks you might have more success by planting the seeds of the marigold plants in pots and bringing the pots indoors. The seeds will send up plants. Hopefully you will give the plants lots of sun to flower. Originally marigolds come from very sunny areas like Mexico and you want to try to duplicate the environment where the plants came from.

My recommendation would be to collect the seed and save the seeds in ziplock bags or envelopes labeled Marigold seeds. Then sow the seeds outdoors next spring when the soil is very warm. Let your marigolds be your summer flowers in the planters and for the winter get flowering plants that really thrive indoors. Plants like African violets are pretty.

Replanting Marigolds

Pot Marigold by Rachael Hickling
Pot Marigold by Rachael Hickling

TheGardenLady received this question from Susan:

I have marigolds in a pot which have died.  Can I replant them in an outside garden? If so shall I just take the whole plant out of the pot and dig a hole in an outside garden and put them in it.

Have the marigold flowers died? Or is the entire plant- the flowers, the leaves and stem- dead?

If only the flower has died, the dead flower contains the marigold seeds which, when dry, can be planted in the ground – or planted in pots indoors. Or if the plant is alive and just the flower is dead, you can snip off the flower and plant the entire plant in the soil.

Not knowing where you live, I can not tell you the planting time. Marigold seeds need warm weather and lots of sun to grow. So if you live in a hot climate where there is no winter, you can plant the seeds now. But if you live in a climate where it is now fall, save the seeds to plant in the late spring after the last frost.

HOWEVER, if the entire plant has died, you cannot save it by planting it outdoors. You will have to toss it out.

Marigold Mystery

Dying Marigold by interchangeableparts
Dying Marigold by interchangeableparts

TheGardenLady received this question about marigolds.

My marigolds are planted around the edge of the garden and watered 2x a week with the rest of the garden.  After a month they just started dying with no visible infestation.  Do you have any idea why?  Last year I planted marigolds in the same vicinity under a citrus tree and they survived just fine.  The plants were bought at Lowe’s garden center both times.

Marigolds are one of the easiest plants to raise. But like any living thing, they can have problems.  See here.  You write that you bought plants at the same local store that you bought them last year. Last year they might have been healthy but this year you might have bought home unhealthy plants- for example, the pots may not have been watered property and you might not have noticed that they looked sickly.

We are lucky to have inexpensive garden centers to buy plants, but many times these stores cannot find knowledgeable people to work in the nursery, people who know how to properly maintain the plants they sell. In the tiny pots the plants come in without proper watering, the roots might have dried out. Or the plants might have had a fungal or bacterial problem in the soil.

Marigold by floridapfe
Marigold by floridapfe

You said that you planted the marigolds in the same vicinity as you planted this year. There can be differences in areas that are close by. For example, in my area in my soil we have lots of shale. A part of the ground close by can have larger rocks down below that doesn’t allow for good drainage in one spot but just a few feet away it is fine.

You said that you watered the plants 2 times a week. Not seeing your marigolds, this seems to TheGardenLady to be what caused the death of your marigolds this year. Marigolds may like a little water when the plants are young-if you raised them from seed. But you bought the plants. After the first watering when you planted them, they really don’t want or need to have you water them unless there is a 10 day or 2 week drought. Perhaps the plants in the border that you put the marigolds in need watering twice a week in the area you live, but this was probably too much water for marigolds. Marigolds like to be in dry soil. They don’t like to sit in wet soil and they don’t like overhead watering. When you water them, they prefer it if you use a soaker hose.   See here.

Dig up the dead plants and discard. Replace them with plants that need as much water as the other plants in your border. How will you know which plants are best? Go to a smaller, local nursery where the people who work there are plant lovers themselves. There are many of these small nurseries in every area. Ask questions when you buy the plants. Tell them what other plants are planted near by to see if the new plants you are buying are compatable.

calendula-şamdan çiçeği by NURAY YUZBASI
calendula-şamdan çiçeği by NURAY YUZBASI

TheGardenLady has written other posts about problems with marigolds and caring for marigolds.  Check them out here and here and here and here.   Hope you solve your marigold mystery.

Getting Cracker Jack Marigolds to Bloom for the Hindu Fire Walking Festival

Crackerjack Marigold by miserena
Crackerjack Marigold by miserena

TheGardenLady received this comment from Priven:

Every year I try to grow tons of cracker jack marigolds but they never seem to bloom well and do their best. I need a huge volume of flowers for the Hindu Fire Walking Festival, but still get let down at the last minute. What am I doing wrong? The Festival is on Good Friday towards the end of the South African Summer. Please advise.

It is difficult to determine your problems without seeing your plants. In the United States we have places we can take diseased or problem plants for the problem to be identified and hopefully corrected. These places are often part of the state agricultural extension office.

So let me give you a list of suggestions of things that could prevent the plants from blooming plus a suggestion to add flowers if all else is OK.

Continue reading “Getting Cracker Jack Marigolds to Bloom for the Hindu Fire Walking Festival”