elitemittens
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Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Hi Guys!
I've always been told by my mother and other gardeners that planting marigolds in the garden will deter quite a number of pests, is that true? At our church garden we always planted marigolds around the perimeter too. Is there actually any sort of pest deterring qualities in marigolds? Thank you!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

The most scientifically proven benefit of marigolds in your garden is that they protect against root knot nematodes in the soil. But most of the rest seems to be at least unproven. See this article on marigold myths: https://www.aces.edu/dept/extcomm/specia ... golds.html
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imafan26
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Only some varieities of marigolds protect against root knot nematodes. Dwarf French cultivars like single gold (nemagone) and African Crackerjack are the ones I use the most. While some marigolds suppress certain types of nematodes they can be hosts for other kinds of pests. Marigolds have to be planted thickly to work for supression and I prefer Crackerjack because it has deeper roots. it is also a good idea to use nematode resistant plants when you know you have nematodes in the soil. Marigolds also are trap plants for aphids and they will also attract beneficial insects.
Other strategies are solarization, and using sun hemp, planting non-susceptible crops in nematode infested fields or growing susceptible crops in containers with sterile media. Some marigolds are edible. I do grow T. lucida also called Mexican mint marigold or Mexican tarragon. It is a substitute for French tarragon in the tropics. Some marigolds are edible but they are bitter and lemony, so I don't like them. Marigolds do something else for the garden, it gives it color.

https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/pnm16.pdf
https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/WangKH/Down ... rganic.pdf
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Yes, I do love the look of the marigolds in the vegetable garden! :) So cheerful! Isn't this a pretty garden?

Image
https://geddies-store.com/yahoo_site_adm ... 26_std.jpg (just a picture I found on line)

And I do throw a few petals in to dress up salads. I like them because they are so easy to collect seeds from and to grow from seeds. My marigolds usually reseed themselves, so that later in the season there are baby marigolds in the pots where the marigolds are. In my zone 6 location, the seeds never made it through the winter though, so I still had to start over every spring.
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elitemittens
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Thanks guys!

theforgottenone1013
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

For marigolds to be effective against nematodes, specifically root knot nematodes, they must be grown as a cover crop. In other words, the entire bed must be planted in marigolds. Interplanting marigolds around vegetables does next to nothing for nematode control and the marigolds will compete with the vegetables for nutrients and water, which could actually lower the productivity of the veggies.

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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Some marigolds take up large amounts of space. They took over the garden last year. Be careful with them, like Rodney said. They're ability to deter pests is largely old wives tales.
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

I used them as a border around my garden 2 years ago. They got to be about 2ft tall and bushy. They did draw in lots of bees for pollination and were effective in keeping the rabbits out. They did take up space and their root ball was huge when I pulled them out.
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Thanks so much!

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

They don't work to keep rabbits out of my garden. The rabbits ate them as an appetizer before moving on to the peas. But I do like interplanting flowers and vegetables. The flowers serve as food sources for pollinators and they look pretty. And as previously stated, some flowers are edible. The best of both worlds.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Yes, I love putting flowers in salads, desserts, etc. This thread:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... wers#66667

has a post I made about edible flowers. It should have marigolds, borage, squash blossoms added to the list.

And this is just a selection; there are actually lots of edible flowers.
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imafan26
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Theforgottenone is correct if you are using marigolds for nematode suppression they have to be planted thickly and you cannot allow weeds to grow since any other plant in the space will be a refuge for the nematodes. Not all marigolds can be used for nematode suppression and as a rule all cover crops are planted thickly. I only plant Crackerjack, single gold, Bolero, and some of the other dwarf marigolds. I also grow T. lucida (Mexican Mint Marigold or Mexican Tarragon as an herb. Mexican mint marigold is a perennial and only blooms once a year. It has the largest root system. I dead head them and save the seeds to plant again so I do not have a problem with them spreading. I grow the Mexican tarragon from divisions and cuttings. They do have fine fibrous roots, but they have not been problem to pull out, but I only keep my annual marigolds for about three months. If you are growing different varieties of marigolds like the standard mixes you may have different results. I have only eaten flowers from the dwarf marigolds, the leaves of the mexican tarragon as a tarragon substitute and the flowers of t.tenuifolia. Calendula, or pot marigold, can be used as a saffron substitute (for color not for taste) but it is not a true marigold.
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elitemittens
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Thanks for the answers :) we just moved into a new house in july so we're just starting our garden plans. I'm not aware of any nematode problems yet... I'm looking at putting other flowers into the garden too. Do you just plant them in between rows or a border? I'd be planting them to attract pollinators. I'm thinking about planting Zinnias, daisies, dahlias and gilia globe flowers.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Re: I'm thinking about planting Zinnias, daisies, dahlias and gilia globe flowers. (to attract pollinators)

That's kind of an odd list. Dahlias are native to Mexico and central America. They are not at all cold hardy. They are perennial, but tender perennial. If you don't want to start them over every year, you have to dig them up in the fall and store them indoors for the winter, then re-plant when it is warm enough in spring. And since they are not even close to local, they are of no interest to local bees, butterflies, etc. They will not help attract pollinators.

Gilia globe flower is an annual that would have to be started from seed every year. It is native to the Pacific coast, in hot, dry chapparal areas, so it is hard for me to think it will do real well in your climate. And personally, I think they are pretty weedy looking, but that is just personal taste.

There are different types of beneficial insects you want to attract to your garden. You do want pollinators, but you also want predators, the ones that prey on or parasitize the bad guy insects that eat your garden. Fortunately some nectar flowers are attractive to all of these, especially the ones that have nectar in tiny florets. Some flowers in your garden also help repel bad guy insects from your crops. These are mostly the strong smelling aromatics, including everything in the onion family and a number of culinary herbs.

Here's a couple articles about attracting beneficial insects to your garden:

https://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/B ... 0Guide.pdf

https://www.farmerfred.com/plants_that_a ... enefi.html

and here's a really nice article about attracting bees and pollinators. You put in your zip code and it will tell you all kinds of plants that are native to your region that are good for attracting pollinators: https://pollinator.org/guides.htm
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imafan26
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Pollinator.org is a good website for finding mostly native plants to attract pollinators, mostly native ones to your yard.

https://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm

There are some generalizations you can make. Red tubular flowers are usually pollinated by butterflies
Honey Bees like small fragrant flowers and like the composites, herbs (basil, carrot and parsley family, mints), alyssum, yarrrow, dill, fennel, tansy (I don't plant this because it is toxic to many animals), onions, Queen Anne's lace, fruit trees.
Carpenter bees like more of the blue flowers like lavender, verbena
Plants that grow in deep shade or smell usually like rotting meat are usually pollinated by ants, beetles. midges, and flies.

Flowers that have no fragrance, may be primarily wind pollinated or are parthenocarpic or self pollinating.

While a lot of edible plants like squash, melon and nut trees are dependent on pollinators to fruit, it is not the first choice of the pollinators.

For a healthy ecosystem it is better to have a variety of different types of pollen plants around, preferably to have something that has a long bloom and something that will be blooming any time of the year. Habitat should also be provided. Trees, shrubs, logs, and a water source. Pollinators not only need food, they need a place to live and raise their young. You can put up artificial beehives to attract solitary bees, bat houses, and even toad houses in the garden.

You provide habitat for the types of wildlife you want to attract. A lot of the articles are for large farm communities. I found one a long time ago that illustrated a design for creating habitat on a smaller scale. I could not find that one but I found these and some of the information may be useful. The one I saw
had some grassy plants, a toad house made from a broken terra cotta pot. A log or pipe also works for toad houses. Coarse mulch for beetles and different types of flowering plants and a tree or shrub. A saucer filled with small pebbles and water can be on the ground or on a pedestal. The bird baths are too deep for most insects, the pebbles give them a safe landing spot to get a drink. In winter, suet, and sugar water feeders provide winter food for birds and insects.

I have a leaf cutter beehive in the herb garden and we made bamboo bundle homes for the carpenter bees. They are hung in the trees. We have to coat the post and the string that holds the bundles with vaseline and boric acid to keep the ants from bothering the bees. I have birds nesting in my trees, but I have to put metal vents on my house to keep them from nesting in my attic. I have a lot of skinks, and anoles all over my yard. I have mice, but the cats in the house keep them outside. I only baited them when they ate the dog biscuits and the sluggo. I haven't had to put out any bait in a long time. Those mice were not from my house, they hitched a ride on my car when I came home from the garden. There were five big ones. The mice that live in my garden did not go after the dog biscuits, just the sluggo.
I have also gotten some greenhouse frogs that probably hitched a ride on plants from the garden. They do eat ants and except for the chirping, I rarely see them. Bulbuls and mejiros are not welcome they are rats with wings. The cattle egret only swoops down after I cut the grass looking for any small beetles, mice or lizards. They are o.k.

https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.e ... pnw550.pdf
https://www.ipmnet.org/Beneficial_Insects_Draft5.pdf
https://www.xerces.org/wp-content/upload ... _usga1.pdf
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elitemittens
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Thank you all for the great information! I'm looking at the benefits of toads at the moment :)

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Zinnias are great for hummingbirds, but I've never seen a lot of bees in them. Purple coneflower works just as well but doesn't have that long bloom period. I had dozens of big bumble bees, not quite as big as Carpenter bees, in my pots of Torenia. Flowering willow shrubs (the p word gets censored) attract loads of honey bees early in the spring but I'm not sure if they are native. Ironweed is a native (at least to Ohio) plant that grows to 6 or 8 feet and has a large purple flower cluster in late summer. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds go crazy over it. There are several species of asters which are native and attract pollinators. But again, they bloom in the fall.

My way of providing food for pollinators is using a mix of native and non-native plants and spreading the flowering period out as long as possible.

Dill and basil are good pollinator attractive plants, lettuce and radishes left to flower are also good pollinator attractors.

I had toads and snakes (Garter and Brown snakes which eat a lot of insects and slugs) use a flower pot saucer filled with water. I had it setting on the ground with some large stones which stuck out of the water in it.

elitemittens
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

What would be your highest rated flowers both native and non native to attract bees and butterflies?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

many have been mentioned already - asters in the fall, butterfly weed/milkweed, ironweed, fennel, bee balm, borage, basil oregano and sage (if allowed to flower), sweet alyssum, penstemon and annual salvia (both also attractive to hummingbirds), lavender, gaillardia, coneflower, yarrow and tansy.
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

If it were only so easy...!!! Looks like you have several factors going, and it will take time, some this season and some more drawn out to work (and change) focus.

Annuals and perennials. Annuals usually easier in veggie garden as you can work or till whole space, replant the next season. Marigolds and zinnias easy start from seed and bloom, and bloom. Perennials need to stay put, so can't work or till. Coneflowers, blanket flower and others mentioned.
Native and non-native. That opens up a whole different set of options. Most natives are perennial.
One suggestion is to have some annuals in with the veggies. Start a dedicated area, even small 4 x 8 for a prairie type bed (coneflower, black eyed Susan, coreopsis, blanket flower, gaura, bee balm etc). Perennial beds take longer to build, but can be so rewarding. Do check for natives for your area.

Don't forget the sunflowers! Annuals, both native and hybrids.
Have fun!
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elitemittens
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Thank you all!

imafan26
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Sunflowers in summer, alyssum year round because it blooms for a very long time. Basil, just let it flower. Fennel= long bloom period and attracts a lot of different beneficial insects. Artemesia. Artemisia, fennel, and dill should be cut before the seeds mature or they reseed with a vengeance. Maples, dogwood, phacelia, creeping thyme, Queen Anne's Lace.
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jal_ut
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

Ah yes, start some marigolds early then as you plant your garden mark the ends of the rows with transplanted marigolds. Whether they really ward off pests, I can't say, but they are certainly pleasant to look at all summer long.
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imafan26
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

The best deterrent marigolds are the ones that are stinky. The more ornamental ones have been developed without much scent.

What I have used for pest detterrents have been garlic chives, garlic and onions. Garlic chives have purple flowers and are nice so people often use them around walkways.

Onion – Onions and all members of the cabbage family get along well together. They also like beets,
strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, summer savory and a sparse planting of chamomile. They do not like peas and
beans. Ornamental relatives of the onion are helpful as protective companions for roses. Since onion maggots
travel from plant to plant when set in a row, scatter your onion plants throughout the garden.

There are believers and non believers when it comes to companion planting. Most of the companions were discovered by people growing them together and learning from their mistakes. They found out through trial and error what works and what doesn't. Be flexible in your planning just because it didn't work out, it may not be your black thumb. You just haven't found the right plant for the right place yet.

Basic companion planting rules are:
Plant what is best suited to your soil conditions
Group together plants that have the same soil and water needs
All plants needs enough space to grow but you can interplant root crops like beets and carrots among shallower rooted lettuce. When you plant a tomato, you can plant lettuce, or other short season green between them since they won't need the space until they are older.

Fennel is good for the garden, it attracts a myriad of beneficial insects especially once it starts blooming. It repels fleas as well. But, it is not a good companion to most plants. I have mine planted next to ginger since they attract a different kind of aphid from fennel. Fennel also does not bother horseradish or gynuura (actually nothing really bothers them). Fennel and dill are aphid traps attracting aphids to them, so you don't want plants that have the same kind of aphid next to them. 10 ft away is fine. If you don't have an aphid problem dill and fennel do not impact other plants until they bloom, then they stunt plants near them. That is why dill helps tomatoes before it blooms but stunts the tomatoes once it does bloom.

The more diverse you make your garden the better it will be to protect itself. Planting companions and interplanting helps to confuse pests. Long rows of the same thing actually can cause problems if pests appear and can be harder to control since you have laid out a nice buffet for them they will be reluctant to leave.

Interplanting vegetables and flowers makes good use of the space and if planned well can be quite ornamental.

Other good flowers/vegetables to plant borage in early summer, nasturtiums in the cool season, sunflowers in spring and summer is ornamental and attracts bees and other pollinators. Flowering vines like scarlet runner beans are both ornamental and edible.

I do grow allysum as one of the basic plants to attract beneficial insects. It blooms six weeks from seed and blooms continuously for me all year. It is a low growing spreading mound so I grow it under my roses along with some garlic chives to defend the roses. I also have gladiolus interplanted among the roses. It was the best place that they liked and they have been popping up to bloom since 1989. I did have cuphea which also blooms profusely and attracts bees. I have recently planted geums in one of the border beds since it requires less water. The jury is still out on that one, it tends to spread.

Marigolds are annuals except for Mexican mint marigold, t. lucida, but it only blooms once a year and the flowers are small. I usually grow crackerjacks in spring and summer.

I let the African basil flower. It is a long lived basil and the bees love it. African basil is edible but has a lot of camphor so does not taste very good. It is resistant to basil downy mildew.

https://cceniagaracounty.org/wp-content/ ... g-info.pdf
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jal_ut
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Re: Marigolds in Vegetable Garden?

" Is there actually any sort of pest deterring qualities in marigolds? Thank you!"

Oh, I don't know, but you have to admit they sure add to the beauty of the garden.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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