Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) is commonly known as pot marigold and is part of the Asteraceae (daisy) family. It is widely known for its antimicrobial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. When used in slaves and oils, it can help soothe skin conditions like eczema and also help with the healing of wounds. My youngest daughter had terrible eczema as a baby and calendula salve really helped calm her skin. I also used this salve to help soothe her diaper rashes. It’s great to use on chapped lips as well!
Calendula is one of the easiest plants to grow, I usually direct sow them but you can start them indoors a few weeks before your last frost. I love to interplant them with my vegetables because of their ability to repel pest, especially aphids. Aphids are a common garden pest that love to suck the sap off of plants, if they suck too much sap it could lead to poor plant growth. They also do a great job of attracting pollinators such as bumblebees and butterflies.
The best time to harvest the flowers is in the morning after the dew has dried. Place them on wire rack to dry for a week or two and them store them in a mason jar. When your mason jar is full of flowers, pour olive oil over them (covering completely) and store at room temperature for about 6 weeks. Make sure you shake them daily. After the 6 weeks are done, strain the petals from the oil. The infused oil can then be used to make all sorts of fun things like soap, lotions and salves.
Calendula is such a wonderful plant to have in your garden not only for its benefits but also for the beauty it adds to your landscape.