I decided to grow some calendula flowers this summer and I am so happy that I did. What an amazing plant...not only is it pretty to look at, but super easy to grow from seeds and produces a ton of gorgeous yellow flowers. I am very impressed with my twenty cent purchase. Yep, I saw a packet of these seeds at my local big box store and thought what the heck, at that cost I've got nothing to lose. My three year old son helped me plant the seeds this spring. I never really have good results with seed starting so I wasn't expecting much but it was simple and effective.
We live in the NE zone 6. We planted the seeds in mid-May, the picture is taken in late June. Today, August 8, after many days of either really high temps in the upper 90's or periods of downpours, the plant is still going strong and producing flowers. Although it doesn't looks as green as the above picture. I planted some seeds in a pot too and it is just now starting to flower. I'm not sure why there is a difference in the flower timing. I've been picking and drying the flowers all summer long, but just last week I found mold in my huge dried flower container! I was so upset that I had to toss it out. I was planning on making a big batch of Calendula Salve. Now, when I pick and dry the flowers I'm immediately adding them in a jar of oil to infuse. I was originally going to wait until I had all of the summer's harvest to infuse, but I'm going to infuse as I go along so I don't have to worry about mold again.
It is a small amount but at least it is something. I had enough dried flowers to fill that jar too!
The recipe I'll use is taken from this book. Basically, you add 1/4 ounce of beeswax to every 2 tbsp. of infused oil. Check back later this year to see how things turn out. This will make an excellent salve for diaper rash, burns or any skin irritations.