How to grow marigolds from seed

Marigolds are a garden staple, known for their bright flowers and pest repelling qualities. They make excellent companion plants for tomatoes and are available in every garden nursery. It's easy to grow marigolds from seed and they often come back every year, since they're pretty good at self seeding!

Marigolds growing from seed

I have been growing marigolds for many years. They are one of the flowers I wrote about in 8 flowers the you need in your garden. Many gardeners grow them for their color. They bright orange and yellow blooms attract lots of pollinators like butterflies. Since your vegetables need pollinators, it's a good idea to welcome them to the garden!

Many gardeners plant marigolds near tomatoes to repel nematodes and other pests on the nearby plants. Marigolds themselves get very few pests except for the occasional mite or aphid. It's believed that the pungent scent of the marigolds discourages many pests from visiting the garden. 

They're said to deter both rabbits and deer, though unfortunately, they do nothing for chipmunks and other rodents. Marigolds can grow thick enough to create a garden barrier, so if you need to keep rabbits out, plant them near any gaps in your fence line.

Marigold is the common name for over 50 species of flowering plants in the Tagetes family. They were native to the Americas, but have been naturalized throughout the world. Various species are grown for their medicinal properties, culinary use, decoration and even pest repellant in the garden.

Seed packet & charm craft

This is one of the most challenging holidays that I have ever worked through. I literally have driven myself crazy coming up with gift ideas that don't use a ton of stuff you need to run out and buy! Last week I wrote about homemade gifts and many of them use ingredients you probably have on hand already. This week I'm going to try to do the same thing, but this one is a little homemade garden gift!

Homemade seed packets with butterfly and bee charms, craft

What I came up with for today is a simple seed packet DIY. This will make a cute gift for a gardener friend. All you'll need is a printer and you can make this using seeds you collected from your own flowering plants this year, or you can pick some seeds up at the local feed store.

I came up with 2 different seed packet designs. One features bees and the other butterflies, because pollinators are so important to our food supply! I will also include a quick bracelet tutorial using charms I ordered at Michaels crafts. They offer curbside pick up, so I didn't even leave my car to get them!

Natural DIY gifts that will be ready for the holidays!

I absolutely did not plan on writing a new gift guide for 2020, especially one with homemade gifts! Then I was asked by a family member if I knew of any good DIY natural gifts that weren't 'cheesy' that I could teach them to make. Being short on money and not wanting to go to all the stores this year makes it hard to shop for Christmas gifts! 

I thought about it and I know with this crazy year we've had, a lot of other people are in that situation too. So I decided to compile a list of my natural gift tutorials.

Homemade air freshener gels and other gifts, recipe

With the exception of the homemade vanilla extract these are all very affordable. As of right now, I have 15 of my own gifts you can make on this list, but I will add to it as I write more. I'll also add the craft tutorials from my chicken keeping blog, but you can use any feathers for these.

How to grow African violets indoors

African Violets are one of my favorite houseplants to grow for one main reason, they bloom all year round! The second reasons that I love growing African Violets is that they are the simplest houseplant ever! The only thing I don't like about them is that the leaves are fuzzy, which means cat hair seems to stick to them all the time!

White African violet flowering plant with purple tinged flowers

African violets are known for their beautiful flowers that bloom in many more colors than just violet! They can be found in every shade or purple, but also white, pink and even blue. Anyone can grow these beautiful plants with just a few simple tricks. Lets talk about the ideal growing conditions to produce long lasting plants with a full head of flowers that bloom year round.

How to use Lemon Balm (3 recipes!)

Lemon balm is one of the easiest herbs to grow in the garden, and that's a good thing because it is super useful! I have been using lemon balm as tea for many years now and just love the light lemony flavor. It's also used in many lip balm recipes because it is great for fighting cold sores. Today I want to talk about how to use the herb lemon balm.

Large medicinal lemon balm plant

I have been growing lemon balm for about 11 years now. I've had the same plant the whole time, although now it's more like 3 big plants and a dozen or so small ones! Luckily I use lemon balm in both both foods and medicine, because I certainly have enough of it. I tried to get ahead of it this year by completely harvesting the 2 plants that planted themselves in spring, but it wasn't very effective.

I mean I certainly harvested and dried a lot of lemon balm! I used this method to dry it all in my truck, which is perfect if you're harvesting mass quantities...like 2, two foot high plants! This plant grows fairly quickly though, especially as summer hits. Even though I cut them down to the ground, they were full size again in just a few months!

What is Lemon Balm?

Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) is a herbaceous upright perennial that will grow for many years with very little care. It isn't picky about it's soil or watering conditions. It also has a tendency to spread and take over the garden as I discussed in 9 Herbs that want to take over your garden. The main reason it's so good at taking over is the sheer volume of seeds each plant produces.

If you allow it to go to seed, it will spread. There's literally no way you will harvest all the seeds before some fall to the ground. I try to yank the tiny plants in spring, but they just keep sprouting! lol What I should do is just plant my lemon balm in the woods instead of in my garden and just let it spread as much as it wants! I wonder if deer would eat lemon balm?

Lemon balm, basil and catnip are all from the family Lamiaceae (mint family). Members of the mint family and all are pretty well known for their medicinal qualities and this one is no exception.

Lemon Balm is a natural anti-inflammatory, has antiviral properties and is very high in antioxidants. It can be used to soothe the stomach, ease anxiety and stress, reduce the length and severity of a cold sore outbreak and even help with insomnia.

It's one of the ingredients in my Herbal Sleep Tea recipe.