Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spring Disco Red Marigolds

Last year, my neighbor gave me a few packages of standard orange marigolds for Mother's Day. It was such a nice surprise. I guess the neighbors know how much I love gardening. I potted the marigolds on my back porch and they grew all summer long with beautiful orange petal blooms. This year she was able to get another pack of marigolds from the local nursery and so she brought them over for me to plant again. It's been a little weathered. There's been some wind and light rain during the daytime and some cold chills at night. Conditions have not been ideal to grow anything right now. Lately, I've been setting my plants out in the daytime, weather permitting, and then when it's night, I take the plants back into the house where it's warm.

When I got the marigolds, they were bone dry. I felt down into the planter, and there was little to no moisture. The plants were starting to slump over with loss of turgor pressure. The neighbor lady is pretty good at growing her own garden. Last year she had quite a collection of garden grown fresh tomatoes and peppers. This year she confessed to me that she would not be growing a garden, that they had other plans for the summer. Instead of storing all of their seeds for another year, they gave me quite a few packs of organic basil, organic cilantro, and organic tomatoes. She also gave me a few starters for her spearmint. There's nothing better in the summer than walking out to a deck and smelling the fragrance of fresh mint. I will grow all of those, but I think I will wait for the weather to get better before I start any kind of major gardening.


Marigolds, however, are very resilient. They can take all kinds of weathering so I will plant them now. They have a short life cycle of blooming and seeding. Last year I re-planted marigold seeds two and three times in the summer. As the flowers on the marigold bloom and dry out and die, they leave seeds in their center that can be planted and regrown. Now I'm going to demonstrate my potting skills.

Squeeze the bottom of the carton and sides to loosen the roots from the container walls.

Each marigold plant will slide out.  As you can see these plants have roots that have been heavily embedded against the plastic wall of the container.  The soil contains pearl lite in it and has been compressed down.  The soil flaked apart because it was dry.  This actually made it ideal for transplanting into a new pot.

I previously had a little gardenia tree in this light green pot.  The gardenia I had was shipped in from the Northwest from Northern California, and it died.  I know for a fact that gardenias can live in the Southwest, but certain strains of gardenias are highly particular about the alkaline composure of the water.  The more I watered this particular gardenia, the faster it died.  It's incredible how sensitive plants can be to the chemical composure of water.  I've heard that you can put Epsom salt into the water and then it will help balance out the water composure for a gardenia.  I did not try it.  The gardenia was already on it's way out.  I let it go.  Sadly, the gardenia died.  I kept the pot from last year, but I had no idea what I would plant in it until today.  That's why this pot, for the most part was ready to go.

I dug a hole into the center of the pot to make room for the marigolds.  I placed each marigold plant into the center, pushing and breaking apart the soil so that each plant would be integrated into the new potting soil.  I pushed all of the plants together into one space.  I added more fresh potting soil and packed the marigolds down.  Eventually these plants will spread apart.  My main concern with them being repotted is that the marigolds might go into shock and die.  Most of the times this never happens.  Marigolds can handle all kinds of hardships.  Still it's important to be gentle with them when repotting.

After I planted the marigolds, I watered them generously.  I think they were very thirsty because the next morning, I felt the soil, and it was dry again.  For some reason these roots must have needed a good watering.  Another day or so they might have dried out and died.  I know what I'm doing though.  I've grown marigolds before.  Last year my flower petals were orange, but these crimson colored flowers are much more bright red and beautiful.  I will treasure them because this summer there will be more and more blooms of marigolds as they seed out and grow again and again.  I'm happy to see these lovely pots growing on my back porch.

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  1. Wait until you see them on the second and third round of growth, the pots will be overflowing. The marigolds will be popping with color this summer.

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