Today I started 12 Calendula Oktoberfest seeds. This is a well known herbal that has been used for hundreds of years for skin problems by promoting healing and protection against free radicals.
My main purpose for Calendula has always been for its repelling of bad insects in the garden, and it’s draw of bees and butterflies. It attracts hoverflies, whose young eat aphids. This gives Calendula a clear spot in my circular economy and food forest.
Beyond its insect value, Calendula leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals and are good in salads, soups, sandwiches, and stirfry. It is a common ingredient in eastern cuisine. Once the lettuce is gone, Calendula is ready to provide nutritious summer greens.
Calendula flower petals are eaten fresh in salads, but are commonly dried for many uses. I add dried petals to my teas, and have added it as a spice to clam chowder when Saffron is unavailable. When I make cornmeal yeast bread, I add a little Calendula for color.
This year, I hope to have enough flower petals to make oil infused with Calendula for skincare products. New Mexico’s endless sunshine is hard on my fair skin and it is time for me to add a light touch of healing to my skincare regime. Calendula is known for its ability to hydrate skin, help make new tissue, and protect from UV damage. Calendula has many medicinal uses fighting inflammation, bacteria, and virus. It is even used as a topical ointment after radiation treatments to help heal skin damage.
Calendula is a good companion plant for tomatoes and will be planted in the tomato bed. If happy, Calendula will reseed itself every year.