Marigold is one of the popular flowers that is cultivated throughout India all around the year. Marigolds, apart from their visually appealing flowers, can also be grown for their income potential and as a pest control agent. We would like to introduce everyone to the basics of Marigold planting and elaborate on Marigold’s hidden potential as a source of income and as a pest control agent in this blog post.
An introduction to Marigold, its types, nature and propagation:
Marigolds are hardy and can be successfully grown in different types of soils and climate. There are two main varieties of marigold based on their size and characteristics.
• French marigold: - These are short plants and the flowers are small in size.
• African marigold: - These are tall plants and the flowers are bigger.
High yielding hybrid varieties are also available in both French and African marigolds.
Marigolds require mild climatic conditions for abundant growth and prolific flowering. For seeds germination optimum temperature ranges are from 18˚C to 300˚C. Sowing and planting is carried out during rainy season, winter and summer seasons. Hence flowers of marigold can be had almost throughout the year.
There are two common methods of propagation of marigold: Through seeds and by cuttings.
Cow dung and cow urine are the best manures for marigold plant. At vegetative and flowering period sufficient amount of moisture in soil is essential. In general, the marigolds are hardy and almost free from diseases and insects.
Marigolds – A source of income:
Because of their ease in cultivation, wide adaptability to varying soil and climatic conditions and long duration of flowering, attractively coloured flowers with excellent keeping quality, the marigolds have become one of the widespread flowers in our country. Marigold flowers are widely used in religious rituals and festivals and as decorations for other cultural events. Petals of some varieties are also edible. Their attractive colours, size and shape also make them a prime pick for making garlands. Thus there is a demand for marigold flowers in the market. During festivals like Onam, Vijayadashami etc. the demand for marigolds is very high and the retail price may go up to IRS150/- per kilogram.
To maximize their income potential there are a few tricks that would make the plants produce more flowers. The shoot can be pinched to make the plants bushy and compact. The terminal portion of shoot can be removed early, thereby starting early emergence of side branches and more number of flowers of good quality and uniform size are produced.
Marigold should be plucked when they attain the full size depending upon the variety. It should be done in the cool hours of the day; that is either in the morning or evening. Field should be irrigated before plucking. Regular plucking of flowers increases productivity.
Marigolds – A Pest control agent
Marigolds are commonly planted as companion plants in vegetable gardens for pest control. Marigolds repel pests, including beetles and nematodes.
The strong aroma from the marigolds tends to mask the smell of the vegetable plant, which confuses garden pests and keep them away from main crops. Marigolds repel a number of insects and should be inter planted with herbs and vegetables to protect plants. French marigolds repel whiteflies and kill harmful nematodes. African marigolds offend a host of destructive insects. Marigolds also repel mosquitoes and insects which prey on tomato plants.
The most effective way to grow them as nematode repellents is to plant a thick stand of marigolds, grow them for 3 to 4 months and then plough them under the soil like a green manure crop. Planting one or two plants may not help, instead plant clumps of marigolds throughout the garden to ensure coverage for them to be effective as pest control agents.
This way while using them for pest control, their flowers can be harvested and can be sold for decorative purposes creating an additional income.
We hope you found this post useful. We would like you leave you with a thought to ponder,
“When there is nothing and we need something, we create ourselves”.