How to harvest marigold seeds

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Marigold-seeds-Canopy-of-Colour

Marigolds have become one of my favourite little flowers. Not because I love orange, or because they’re cute, but because they are a god send when it comes to keeping pests away from an organic garden.

One of the biggest problems I face is keeping away the bad bugs that want to munch on everything I grow. Marigolds have quite a pungent smell, which tends to act as a repellant for many bugs, so by planting them in and around the garden, they help deter pests. Plus they’re considered to have a low pollen level, which is always a plus for anyone who suffers hayfever.

This year I’ve harvested the seeds, so I can grow them myself rather than spend a fortune on buying seedlings, so thought I’d share how this is done.

With marigolds, the seeds come after the flower heads die. Once a flower dies, it’ll start drying out and turn brown (top left hand corner of picture). When it gets to this stage, simply pinch them off, and carefully extract the seeds from the inside. You can peel the top open, however I prefer squeezing from the bottom and letting them all pop out.

You should end up with a heap of seeds (see front of pic). Which is great, because it’s likely that not all will germinate.

Happy harvesting.

Mexican bean beetle?

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Mexican bean beetle

I’m all for organic gardening, so, when something started eating my tomato plant, the first step was of course to find out what it was.

Google helped with that… but, the only thing that seems to resemble this spiky little fellow is the Mexican Bean Beetle (larvae). Problem solved, except for the fact that they aren’t meant to be on the South Coast, let alone Australia.

There’s not much I can do for my tomato plants now, they ended up getting late blight (I think?!), however the bean beetle (if that’s what it is) could be a problem.

Being a total greenie at heart, I contacted the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to let them know of the ahem, possible invasion. I’ve since sent a sample off and am now, with much trepidation, waiting to hear the news. Trepidation because it’s probably a common pest that is going to make me look like the amateur gardener that I am (ie a fool). Damn karma. If I could’ve sent the bug without drowing it in alcohol first I would have. Really.

Anyway, if you know what it is, please let me know.