The narrator (so far unidentified) explains that no marigolds grew in the fall of 1941.
The narrator and her sister thought the marigolds didn't grow because Pecola, a young girl in the town, was having her father's baby.
The narrator and her sister thought that if they planted marigold seeds and said the right words over them, Pecola's baby would be born OK.
The narrator spent many years thinking it was her fault that the marigolds didn't grow, because she had planted the seeds too far down into the earth. She now understands that it was the earth's fault.
The narrator says that Pecola's baby is dead, along with her father. Though it will be difficult to explain why this is so, the narrator will try to tell how.