Marigolds make excellent bedding, edging and border plants. They add color as container plants and as cut flowers. Variety size ranges from the dwarf form at 6 inches to 4 feet tall. Flowers come in yellow, mixed, red, cream and maroon. Marigold foliage is fern-like and gives off a pungent odor when disturbed. They will produce blooms from early summer until killed by a hard frost in late fall. Marigolds flower 45 to 50 days after seeding. Seedlings will be ready for the garden after the last spring frost has passed if planted indoors by late March.
Mix together 2 parts perlite, 2 parts vermiculite with 4 parts peat moss to create a lightweight soil mixture for starting seeds.
Fill a seed try with your soil mixture. Tap the bottom of the tray against a table top to settle the soil. Give the tray a couple of small shakes to even out the level of the soil mixture. Do not pat the soil down with your hands. The seeds need loose soil to germinate.
Sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the soil in the seed tray. Gently cover with 1/4 inch of soil. Do not bury too deeply or the seeds will be delayed in sprouting.
Mist the tray with water in a spray bottle. Wet down the entire surface of the soil. Move the tray to a warm area and keep moist. The seeds will germinate in a few days.
Transplant the seedlings into 3-inch containers once they have produced true leaves. These are leaves that look like the lacy, feather-like leaves of the mature plants. Place in the shade for a couple of days before moving them out into the full sun. Allow the seedlings to grow some more before transplanting them in the garden.