I have never been a flower gardener, that is, until this year.
I have been living across the street from a master gardener who has the most beautiful flowerbeds, lawn, shrubs, and vegetable garden which make her house look so bright and well taken care of. Then there is my home. My lawn is infested with weeds, my rose bushes have always been diseased, there isn’t any color around my house except for the gaudy purple paint that adorns it, (yes, I did say purple). So this year I started asking my neighbor questions and she has happily been showing me the ropes (I imagine there would be the benefit of not having my ugly house to look at).
One of the things she showed me was how to dry Marigolds so that next year I can plant hundreds of them for absolutely free!
The first step, of course, is to find someone with a lot of Marigolds and then offer to deadhead them once a week or more so you can get a supply started. The trick to harvesting many Marigold flowers is to begin deadheading them from the moment they start to flower. This, surprisingly, will cause them to go into hyperdrive and start growing thicker and bigger and produce more flowers. It only takes a couple weeks of deadheading them prematurely and then you can start just deadheading them when the flowers are fully opened.
Next; lay them in a container so they can dry. A fruit flat works great. I, however, have been using mine constantly this summer.
It takes only a few days before they are dried so you can keep piling the flowers on top of the dried ones. Once the flowering season is over, simply place your container somewhere with air circulating, such as anywhere in the garage just not inside a box or closet, and wait until next spring.
When spring comes you simply break the flowers apart between your fingers and plant the long seeds wherever you would like some hardy, bright, punches of color. Be sure to water well.
The best part of Marigolds is that it is a natural insect deterrent. I have not had any problems with insects near my tomatoes or carrots, which is where I planted the Marigolds.
Next, I want to try drying my own vegetable seeds. The possibilities are endless!
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