Celebrating Fall: Growing and Harvesting Marigolds

Celebrating Fall: Growing and Harvesting Marigolds

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, leaves, marigolds, boot & sweater weather is a reminder of change after a hot and dry summer in Southern California.  And since the season isn’t as gloriously marked here as it is in the northeast, I go online and look at photos of the changing colors of the trees. The shorter days and colder evenings remind me that it is natural to slow down, to hold a cup of hot tea, to allow for things to settle in to a fallow period.

But October is not for the fallow in your garden.  In fact, it is a great time to grow your annuals in the soil that is still warm from the summer, from your bulbs that will flower in the spring, to flowers you hope to harvest for a holiday centerpiece.

Marigolds are a fantastic flower to plant this week: they are the birth flower of you October babies, and bloom in oranges and reds, the warm colors of fall, perfect for an autumnal dinner table.  Used around the world in honor of various traditions and religious rites, from honoring Mother Mary to those who have passed away on Day of the Dead, some of my favorite images are from the garlands of marigolds used in India to celebrate weddings and mark holy days.  High in antioxidants, the Calendula officinalis  is not only edible, but has been used medicinally for everything from upset stomach to ointments to treat burns, bruises, and cuts.

Marigolds are easy to grow and maintain, so you really have no excuse.  Get out in your garden!

  • Marigolds thrive in full sun, and do well in almost any well-drained soil.
  • Seeds sown directly into the garden about 1-inch apart sprout within days in warm weather and plants bloom in about 8 weeks. (Burpee.com)
  • Water from the base of the plant, not from overhead.
  • Do not fertilize, marigolds actually bloom better without.
  • To harvest when the flowers bloom, cut early in the morning and put directly into warm water.

Add bouquets to your fall dinner table, or sprinkle some petals to add a garnish to your favorite autumnal food.  What are the ways that you celebrate autumn?  Drop us a note in the comment section, or tell us on Twitter @TheCityFarm.

(Photo Credit: WallpaperHDHub.com)