Week 12: Calendulas: Edible and medicinal sunshine in the garden

Oh calendulas, they are such sweet burst of sunshine in the garden!  We have been diligently harvesting calendula flowers for the past few weeks at both Community Teaching Gardens.  We are dreaming of harvesting a generous quantity of calendula petals to eventually infuse in olive oil and make a healing salve.

Calendula_officinalis_botanical
Take a good look at this botanical illustration of calendula.  Although commonly called “pot marigold”, these flowers are not marigolds!

The first step has been to properly harvest the blossoms to encourage more blossoms to come forth, which in gardening terms we call “deadheading”.

how to deadhead flowers
These are zinnias, (not calendulas!), but they also benefit from being deadheaded.

 

Here is a more detailed guide for deadheading flowers:

 

deadheading2
(We randomly found this great resource on the web, but did not find a reference…)

At the Tommy Thompson CTG site we have been joyfully harvesting from calendulas that self-seeded from last year and left us with an abundance of blossoms.

TT-Amy harvesting calendula  TT-Andrea harvesting calendula

After filling our baskets, we left the calendula blossoms to dry on an indoor drying rack for a couple of weeks.  On Saturday we pinched off the dry calendula petals, filled up a pint-sized mason jar, and then poured in enough olive oil to fully submerge the petals.  Now we will patiently wait for 4 weeks for the calendula to fully infuse the oil.

For those of you wanting to learn more about the medicinal properties of calendula, we share a posting by the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, “Calendula-Sunshine Incarnate – An Edible and Medicinal Flower”.

 

 

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