Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Marigold Testing

Back in April I responded to a post on a gardening forum -- a seed company is looking for gardeners to test marigold seeds.  I responded, and it seems that I am "in."  Here's what I was told:
"This sums up what is happening with this trial. The seeds will not be mailed out until in the fall. The company initially wanted 5 varieties tested, then changed it to 14.  70 packages of seeds will be distributed and perhaps split some so that there is an even test in a number of home garden test sites.

The varieties to be tested are listed below in 2 groups : top group are our top marigolds; bottom group are competitive marigolds. I specify general preferences from the top group, like height, color if that is important to me, etc. and they will try to match that up with the competitive marigolds the company wants us to test against. Current thinking is that I will get an unopened package of 100 seeds of each variety of company marigolds that I request from the top group.
Plant as I normally do.

Based on a mini test (just 2 seed types) that is being done now, this is one method:

Specify 1ft by 1ft squares in my garden. 12 seeds will be planted of each variety in two ( 2 ) of these squares (24 seeds total for each variety). The 2 squares for each variety will be separated in different parts of the garden in case something happens in one of those squares. If something detrimental happens, I can replant from the remaining seeds. I will thin those marigolds down to whatever I feel I can handle and either transplant them or leave them in their squares. Hopefully at least 10 plants (maybe more) of each variety will remain for the final test. Of course labeling the plants (or maps) will be extremely important. Again you can do your test any way you want. I recap results and provide any info I get on growing marigolds successfully.

"This is a trial in real home gardens where issues arise, even total planting failures. All that is expected." 

Expect to see blankets of marigolds in my yard come Fall!  And, they encourage me to blog about the experience.  Fun...

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