The calendulas really exploded this week. The flowering ones in the front are a mixture of Flashback and Oktoberfest that I planted inside under the growlight setup back in April. Towards the back are some smaller plants that I direct seeded in May. I'm really glad I started the earlier ones inside! You can see it made a huge difference.
The amazing thing is I took this picture on Tuesday, and by Thursday I went outside after work to find twice as many flowers! I love how they are all different shades of cream, yellow and orange. And they will keep flowering into the fall. What a great edible plant. There will be plenty to go around for bath salt presents this holiday season, that's for sure. I'm also hoping with this many plants in one bed, they'll self sow so next year Ill have early volunteers outside.
UPDATE 7/15/09: Darnit! I spoke too soon. Just noticed the calendulas have a terrible black aphid infestation! Going to try shooting them off with the hose. If that doesn't work, next step will be to use a canola oil/liquid soap solution. Would be nice to get some ladybugs, but the only place I know to get them is over the internet and I'm not quite there yet.
UPDATE 7/19/09: Well, the aphids were easy enough to control. Most of them were on spent blooms that needed to be deadheaded anyway, and the rest I just blasted off with the hose. Now there are just a couple more I'm going to blast off. However, I thought the light yellow spots on the leaves were normal, but they appear to be getting worse and may actually be a disease. Either leaf spot or white smut: http://vvv.state.ct.us/caes/PlantPestHandbookFiles/pphC/pphcale.htm. I hope it is the latter b/c that is not as serious as leaf spot, which will kill the plant. Guess we'll see how it goes.