Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Calendula - From Seed to Soap

What is it?
Also, know as pot marigold, calendula is a flower which is used medically and cosmetically.

"Calendula officinalis is one of the best skin-care herbs ever!  Calendula is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory. It promotes skin regeneration, minimizes scar tissue, is an excellent skin moisturizer, and helps heal rashes, burns, sores, ulcers and skin problems associated with radiation therapy"  from Mother Earth Living

It has tons of uses.

How to Get it?
There are a lot of resources out there (here's a soap recipe: http://www.soap-making-resource.com/calendula-soap-recipe.html). I decided to start from the ground up, literally; I bought some seeds.
Those are some weird looking seeds (look below)!

I planted these in early spring and they grew very well. I put them in a medium pot and thought I'd... maybe get enough petals to make a trial batch of soap.

They very quickly outgrew the pot and I transplanted them to a corner of the yard. Then one day they began to blossom...
Calendula Seeds -Weird looking!

When the flower begins to bloom, it is ready to harvest. I cut them as close to the bloom as possible.
The great thing about calendula flowers is that the more you harvest, the more they blossom.
The first day I harvested 3, the next I harvested 8 blooms. The blooms are quite pretty and varied.
Dried Calendula Petals

Soon enough I was harvesting a bucket full each day!

Getting the calendula is a lot of work. You have to harvest them constantly and they leave your hands really sticky. I started using some latex gloves whenever I handled them. I first let them dry outside and then plucked off the leaves.

Now I have this many calendula leaves! This is after I already infused a mason jars' worth in olive oil.

I got pretty tired of doing this so I let them go to seed. I will be harvesting the seeds and starting again next year. They are so pretty and so useful.

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