One of the easiest cool-season annual flowers to grow from seed, calendula is sometimes called English marigold or pot marigold since it grows nicely in containers. While you can purchase small seedlings from the garden center and transplant them, preparing the garden soil and sowing the seeds where they are to grow ranks as the best option. Once blooming, cut the stems and enjoy them in bouquets in the house.
Plant your calendulas in a garden site with a soil with some fertility that does not flood or remain soggy after rains. The site must receive between four and eight hours of direct sunlight daily.
Till the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches with a garden hoe. Do this as soon as the soil is workable in spring, about one month before the last expected spring frost date.
Rake the tilled soil area so it is relatively smooth and allow it to naturally settle for three to four days.
Create a shallow furrow with the garden hoe in a row. Make the furrow 1/4 inch deep. Pulverize soil clumps with your fingers.
Place flaky calendula seeds in the furrow, spacing seeds about 4 inches apart. If it's a windy day, crouch over the planting area to help shield the seeds and prevent them from blowing around in the furrow.
Replace the soil atop the seeds, making sure they are no more than 1/4 inch below the surface. Use soil that has the finest particles; avoid large muddy clumps and "pebbles" of soil to cover the seeds. Tamp the soil down gently with the back of the hoe blade.
Sprinkle water from the sprinkling can over the newly planted area. Add about 1 inch of water to thoroughly moisten the soil around and just below the seeds.
Add water over the next week only when the soil surface becomes dry. The seedlings should poke through the soil in 5 to 14 days.
Thin the seedlings after two weeks so that plants grow with about 10 to 12 inches between plants. Immediately replant any pulled seedlings to other areas of the row.