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How to Sow Marigolds & Nasturtiums (+ Why They Are Perfect Veg Companions)

Marigolds and Nasturtiums are beautiful flowers that come in a variety of colours. But that’s not all, they also make excellent companion plants for growing alongside vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers. This is because they deter pests and attract pollinators. In this video, Dave demonstrates how to sow marigolds and how to sow nasturtiums and explains all the symbiotic benefits of growing them alongside your veg garden.

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Here’s what Dave says in this video…

OK, so what we’re gonna do today, is show you how to sow marigolds, we’re going to set some marigold seeds that we’re going to grow on in the greenhouse and they’re actually for in the greenhouse.

Marigolds and Tomatoes

They are a beneficial plant, um, in lots of ways, really, especially if you’re growing them around tomatoes and that sort of thing. And the thing about them is that they attract pollinators which is a good thing, but also they attract things like wasps and hover flies and they eat and aphids, white fly and that sort of thing.

The scent of the marigold as well, puts some of the pests off, and it’ll deter them from even coming into your greenhouse. And the other thing about them is they’re a bit of a sacrificial plant because slugs and snails love them. So, they’ll tend to eat these rather than eat the other crops in your garden. So there’s lots of benefits of growing flowers in your greenhouse with your tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.

We’ve got three different varieties, we’ve got a lemon gem, naughty Marietta and Red Cherry, so they’re all, as you can see, completely different. They’ll have the same scent. Probably the same growing habit and we’ll treat them exactly the same.

How to Sow Marigolds

In terms of how to sow marigolds, we’ll set these in little recycled mushroom trays and just use a good quality peat free compost, you don’t have to be too fussy with them, they’re quite robust little seeds and plants.

So we’ll do the red cherry first. So a decent layer of compost in your tray, you don’t need too much. Two inches is plenty. The seeds are a reasonable size and they’re all the same sort of shape. So they tend to be sort of two-coloured. They look a bit like a dart or a shuttlecock, they’ve got like a white plume on the end and then that’s the actual seed there. And that’s that’s what was part of the flower.

So all you do is you take them in your hand and you can just from a sort of five or six inches high, just sprinkle on the surface of your compost. Don’t set them too close together, spread them out and only set what you need really. Don’t don’t think you’ve got to use the whole packet. What I grow I tend to try and force into my garden somewhere anyway. Yeah, shoehorn them in. Yeah. So as you can see I’ve spread those out quite evenly, plenty of room for the the small seedlings to appear and develop.

So all you do is you take them in your hand and you can just from a sort of five or six inches high, just sprinkle on the surface of your compost. Don’t set them too close together, spread them out and only set what you need really. Don’t don’t think you’ve got to use the whole packet. What I grow I tend to try and force into my garden somewhere anyway. Yeah, shoehorn them in. Yeah. So as you can see I’ve spread those out quite evenly, plenty of room for the the small seedlings to appear and develop. And the thing about marigolds is the reason we can set them like this is they don’t mind being pricked out, they don’t mind being disturbed. And some plants don’t particularly like that. But these are the pretty good for, you know, being pricked out. They’re quite robust little plants, easy to grow. So if you’ve got if you’ve got kids, they’re really good for kids to grow, get them into gardening by growing these because you almost can’t fail with them.

So these we’re just going to slightly cover with compost. You don’t need to cover them a lot. So I’m just going to make sure the seeds are in contact with the compost and then just a thin layer over the top. They just want to seeds to sort of disappear from view. Don’t need to be too deep. And you’ve laid them flat, you’ve not sort of the temptation is because they look like a dart is to stick them in. But, no, just lay them flat. They’ll come, they’ll grow and then just a little covering of compost, tap them down and firm them And all you need to do with that is label it.

How to Germinate Marigolds

So pop a label and give them a water. And then what I’ll do is also water them off, stick them in a clear plastic bag and just stick those onto a bright windowsill. You don’t need to put them on a heat tray or anything like that. They’ll they’ll germinate quite readily At this time it could even germinate in the greenhouse because it’s quite warm in here today. And but it’s overnight that you’d have to protect them, Stick them on to a warm windowsill and they’ll germinate, it says. So two to three weeks but I’ve set some from recently and they were through in three days. So, you know, it just depends on where you’ve got them and the conditions. So there’s obviously been good conditions. This weekend has been a quite bright weekend, warm, so that they’ve come through pretty quick. So the other Marigold just set in exactly the same same process, exactly the same. Just check your instructions on the back. So there’s loads of information and that tells you what month to set them in, when to plant them out.

How to Stop Slugs Eating Entire Marigolds

You want them to be a robust plant when you put them out, because as I say, slugs and snails love them. So if you’ve got a small plant, you put that out, they’ll just take the whole lot and they’ll be gone. If you’ve got a strong, established plant, they’ll take a bit of of an attack from a slug or snail. And so, you know, they’re not going to eat everything all at once. I mean, I’ve seen gardens where people have planted them out, and they’re only small, and then you can go the next day and they’ve all gone and they will do where they’ve got which. It’s like that big leaf we saw last year isn’t it It munched at it, but it didn’t Yeah, it didn’t take it all, Yeah, it resisted it. Yeah, it couldn’t eat the whole thing. So I think that was a squash plant. Yeah, but yeah, if you get it established, the slugs and snails will have a go at them, but they’ll not kill them.

How to Sow Nasturtium Seeds

So the other thing we’re going to set and other beneficial plant for your garden is the nasturtium. Now this is a variety called peach melba, and I’m going to treat these slightly different because they’re quite a big seed. And they don’t particularly respond to being disturbed once they’re growing. I’m going to set these in modules so that we don’t have to disturb them. All we’ll do is pot them out the module straight into another pot, ready for going outside. So this is sort of a homemade propagator. And I think this had donuts or something in it. So I’ve got a, I bought the tray and I bought the modular tray. You can use like little yogurt pots or anything you want really toilet rolls, whatever you want to use. I just got this one spare.

So that’s what I’m going to use today. Yeah, yeah. Perfect. Yeah, you just want to make sure you’ve got drainage in both All you have to be careful of is if you put it inside on a windowsill, but you get one of these that’s not got drainage in that. What? These have your modules half so that any water access water will drain into your tray and it won’t go out onto the windowsill and down your wall. So just have to be careful. We’re going to keep that going to stay in there. Yet these are so that’s that. So I’m just going to pop some peat free compost there. Just fill each module. No need to firm it down. It’s because it is quite a fine compost for setting seeds. So all you need to do that is just tap it and see if I could just sink a little bit. And that’s exactly what you need.

So, the nasturtium seed… it’s quite a bulky seed. So as you can see. As I say, this one’s called peach Melba, which is quite a nice variety of it not given these before, so something new. And what I want to do is just for now, I’m just going to lay a seed in the center of each module. They’re really easy to handle because of the size of them. I’m just going to double check the depth that there should be set at. So I’ve got a couple three spare there. So just in case any of these don’t come, we can always replant them. Yeah. You only need one in each. If you want, you can put two in each and just pull out the one. That’s the weakest one. Well, I think with a seed this side, size, and just plant in each, you know, hopefully they’ll all come, But if I don’t, actually I’ve got three or four that can replant. If they don’t come, don’t just pop it straight into the same compost because it’ll be wet and soggy just replace that little bit of compost and then put a new seed in. And obviously, when when the seeds start growing, they’ll take up moisture from the compost.

If the seed doesn’t grow, it just stays wet and it can harbor diseases and things. So you’re better off to empty that module out and refill it with fresh compost. Yeah. So it says to cover the seedlings with half an inch or one and a half centimeters of compost, so all I’m going to do. I’m just going to slightly push those in just one and a half centimeters, approximately. So you’re making good contact contact with the compost anyway because you’re pushing the seed into the compost, you’ve no need to be, exact, don’t lose any sleep about it. And then all you’re going to do then is just throw some compost over the top level, it over, and just shake it to settle it and then just wipe any excess off. And that’s that all you need to do, then label it again and give it a watering and then pop your top on and again.

How to Germinate Nasturtium Seeds

If you’ve got a tray that’s not got drainage, it probably on the warm, windowsill. I’m going to leave this in here because the greenhouse is warming up nicely now and they should germinate again on here, it says to days. Again, they might be through in a week, it’s just conditions.


Benefits of Growing Nasturtiums

But again, these have the same benefits as your marigolds. They attract pollinators and they attract hoverflies There’s loads of varieties of of other flies.


Are Wasps Good for the Garden?

Don’t be worried if you get wasps, because other than, if a wasp makes a nest in your greenhouse, they’re quite beneficial they eat the pests, they do pollinate as well. So, you know, everybody says, ooh what do What’s the purpose of a wasp? They do have a purpose. They do predate bugs.


Are Marigolds and Nasturtiums Edible?

The other bonus with both of these, actually, is that you can eat the flowers so you can eat the petals. Yeah, but obviously, just make sure you double check on your package and everything before, yeah, before you actually do. It’s always best to check. But yes, marigold, you can eat because you see it on like MasterChef, you put with the petals. Yeah, yeah. And I think nasturtiums as well again check, I think you can eat the leaves. Um, but just check which variety you’ve got you know, just do some research first.

Where We Are Growing Nasturtiums

The idea is that they’re going to go down near the squash plants in the garden, because this year we’re going to plant a lot more flowers to attract pollinators just to give them a help. And because we’ve got tended to concentrate on veg. Yes. And so we’re going to do even more to get help for the pollinators.


What Are Single Flowers?

So the other thing about flowers that you grow as well, try to grow flowers that are single. By that, I mean that they’re an open. The flowers are open so that the insects can get to pollinating that certain types of marigolds, like double or pom pom, they’re more difficult for pollinators to to get the food from so, Yeah. Um yeah. I can try and try and grow. Yeah, a single, a single variety or a mixture, you know, obviously, I’m not saying don’t ever grow a double flower at all. Yeah, but try and get some single flowers in there as well. Daisies and that sort of thing. Yeah. Yeah, just to help the pollinators.