|Our lovely Calendula bed|
Gardening by the moon is a centuries old practice. Most people know that the oceans tides are influenced buy the gravitational pull of the moon. This pull also affects the water content, the ‘tides’ within our bodies and that of the plants. This is the second year GD and I have tried to follow the sensibility of planting by the moon and we have been rewarded by our best, tastiest, most abundant crops ever. We have not got our heads around all the intricacies of it yet, there is so much to learn, how to really reconnect with Gaia and all the natural forces around us. When I was young I could literally feel the earth speak to me, I felt her vibrations as a language, which is gently, slowly coming back to me as I allow her in, we are learning to feel each other again. We take small steps GD and I as we evolve, learning each day, as new revelations come to us, new knowings and new dawnings. Today I am picking some of the glorious calendula marigold that has brightened our morning walks to the green house. Nearing the full moon, the time when the berries are at their juiciest and leafy greens most succulent, having their optimum water content, the essential oils of herbs, the scent of fragrant flowers will also be at their strongest. Medicinally plants are harvested according to which properties of the plant are being sought, for example if it is the root being sought then harvest at the new moon when the sap is lowest and concentration is in the base of the plant. If it is the flower, leaf or berry then the full moon is the optimal time. We are harvesting today because tomorrow when the moon is fullest we will be at the Tendering agricultural show, GD having once milked cows for a smallholding course loves these shows where he can get close again to his beloved cows. So following the writing’s of a lady called ‘Barbara Pleasant’
I have gathered my Calendula flowers late in the morning after the dew has dried,
|Sunshine in a bowl|
picking the ones that are fully open and I will be drying them at room temperature for a few days. I do not have a dehydrator to remove residual moisture, one method Barbara recommends, or another method mentioned is to put them in in warm oven for a couple of hours, but as I have a good airing cupboard I can utilize without using extra energy I will use this method. Then the dried petals will be transferred to a clean jar and covered with olive oil or grapeseed oil and placed on a warm sunny window sill. Then I will need to shake the jar every day for three to four weeks, then strain through a coffee filter, we don’t generally have filters in this house but will obtain one. for this purpose. Am looking forward to using the calendula oil for skin preparations and can even use it straight to treat skin rashes.
|This looks so pretty in the sunshine|
Please take note some people can be allergic to the daisy family and could have an adverse reaction.
Barbara has lots of other uses for calendula which I will be trying out and reporting back on. Let the making begin!.
|GC 3 and GC 4 picking dried Calendula petals|
Its been a month or so since I put the first batch of Calendula to dry off, I checked on the flower heads and they seemed nice and dry and ready to jar up, so when my grandsons were over we spent a happy half hour stripping off all the petals and putting them in a kilner jar. We added grapeseed oil to cover and placed them on a south facing windowsill. Almost everyone who has seen it in my kitchen tells me they need the finished oil because they have this itch or this rash or some dry skin, a demand for the healing oil is building up already in anticipation of its benefits, just as well I have more drying off.