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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Harvesting Marigold Seeds

Photo 1: Dried marigold flower head full of seeds

Photo 2: Dried orange petal fluff removed.  Base of plant is holding a bunch of marigold seeds.
Photo 3: Base of plant holding a few marigold seeds.

Photo 4: Bag full of marigold seeds

My marigolds are dying back in the garden and the stems have turned brown, which means it is time to harvest the marigold seeds.  Collecting marigold seeds will take very little time and effort, and you will end up with an abundant supply of marigold seeds.  Share them with friends or grow them next year from seed.    

Marigolds are easy to grow from seed, are pretty, drought-tolerant, and are very hardy plants.  I plant marigolds throughout the vegetable garden because the roots secrete a substance that kills nematodes.  The smell of marigolds also deter some pests that munch on other crops (e.g., whiteflies).     

How to Collect Marigold Seeds

  • Plastic snack bag or other seed container
  • Small rock or weight if using a plastic bag
  • Scissors
  • Bowl

  1. Identify flower heads that have died back, and where 1 to 2 inches of the stem has turned brown.  See Photo 1.  Snip off these flowers (with the stems) and place them in a bowl.  
  2. Place a small rock or weight in your bag to keep it from flying away.
  3. Using your fingers, remove the "orange fluff" (i.e., the dry, brittle marigold flower petals) and discard them.  I throw the fluff right back into the garden.  See Photo 1 & 2.
  4. Several marigold seeds (i.e., black and tan slivers)  are in the base of the flower.  See Photo 2 & 3.  
  5. Remove the seeds and place them in the plastic bag.  Seal the bag when you are done.  If you used dried flower heads, then you should not have any condensation.  If you do notice condensation inside the bag, re-open the bag and allow the seeds to completely dry out before storing them.     

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