We absolutely love marigolds because they add a cheerful colour to our garden and help keep whiteflies, aphids and nematodes from destroying our fresh produce! That’s why we believe they belong in every raised garden bed. Plus, they are super simple to grow and are often a newer green thumb’s first garden success! Marigold blooms are edible and can add an extra special touch to salads, soups or stir-fries. They are also a welcome addition to our family’s first aid kit, as when made into a cream or salve, marigold (AKA Calendula) has calming and soothing properties and can help with rashes, chapped lips, cuts and scrapes and minor burns.
What you’ll need
Marigold seeds or seedlings from your local garden centre
Good quality potting mix
Water-filled watering can
High potash fertiliser
How to grow marigolds:
- Choose an area that gets plenty of sunshine.
- Prepare your garden bed with potting mix.
- Either sow your marigold seeds or plant your seedlings accordingly.
- Keep young plants well watered particularly during hot spells.
- Remove any weeds from around your marigolds as they will compete for food and water and feed with a high potash fertiliser to prolong the flowering period.
Soothing Calendula Salve
A wonderful, simple and soothing balm to have on hand for your family’s many skin ailments including nicks and scrapes, nappy rash and sunburn.
10 fresh heads of marigold flowers (pick these early in the morning and preferably on a dry day)
300mL olive oil
30g beeswax chips
You’ll also need a small and large saucepan, some muslin and a sieve or colander with a bowl and a couple of small glass jars to store your salve.
- Pick the petals off the flower heads and place them in the smaller of your two saucepans.
- Cover in the olive oil and stir.
- Put some water in the larger saucepan, bring to the boil and then return to a gentle simmer.
- Place your smaller saucepan (with the flowers and oil) into the larger one and heat for 3-4 hours. This will transfer the healing properties of the flowers into the oil.
- Remove from heat and strain the oil from the petals using the muslin and sieve or colander. Your oil should have taken on the bright colour of the marigolds.
- Put the oil back into the small saucepan and place into the simmering water once more.
- Put the beeswax chips into the oil and stir gently until melted and thoroughly combined. The beeswax will help the oil set and has soothing properties of its own!
- Carefully pour your salve into a small glass jar/s and seal with a lid. After a little while the salve will have set. Store in a cool, dark place and use as needed.
When used topically, marigolds have anti-inflammatory and skin healing properties. When eaten, marigolds will provide a hit of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that support healthy peepers.