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Farmers and gardeners have long known that marigolds make important companion plants all over the garden. Not only does the scent of the marigold (Tagetes spp.) repel animals and insects, but the underground workings of the marigold will repel nematodes (microscopic worms) and other pests for up to 3 years.
Marigolds themselves are hearty but may be prone to gray mold, bacterial leaf spot, powdery mildew, Alternaria leaf spot, damping off, and root rot.
Marigolds need lots of sunshine.
Though they grow in almost any soil, marigolds thrive in moderately fertile, well-drained soil.
Sow them directly into the garden once the soil is warm, or start seeds indoors about a month to 6 weeks before the last spring-frost date.
The seeds germinate easily, but watch out for damping off if you start them inside.
Separate seedlings when they are about 2 inches tall. Plant them in flats of loose soil, or transplant them into the garden.
Space tall marigolds 2 to 3 feet apart; lower-growing ones about a foot apart.
If planting in containers, use a soil-based potting mix; during growing season, water freely and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer weekly.
December 26th, 2012
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