Calendula Is One of My Favorite Flowers to Grow in My Kitchen Garden
Calendula is easy to start from seed, the flowers are beautiful and bring a cottage look to my plantings, and the plants have proven to be great for maintaining the health of my organic kitchen garden. This flowering herb grows well in almost any spot of my raised beds and even inside my in-ground pollinator garden.
Read on to learn why I love growing calendula and why you should plant this herb yourself this spring, too.
Reason #1 to Grow Calendula
Calendula Is Easy to Grow from Seed
I'm always looking for plants that grow easily from seed, and calendula is one of my top picks.
One reason for its ease in growing from seed is the fact that calendula seeds are quite large compared to other edible flower seeds in the Asteraceae plant family. When seeds are larger, it's much simpler to space out the seeds and know the necessary depth for planting.
Not only are the seeds bigger and easy to handle, they're also very dependable with their germination. Germination is a word gardeners use to describe the process of a seed waking up from dormancy and growing into a seedling. With some seeds, germination rates are more difficult to predict, where one out of five or one of out ten may sprout and produce.
But I've found with calendula that the germination rate is almost always 100 percent, meaning for every seed I plant, I get a healthy sprouted seedling in return.
Those are good odds, don't you think?
Reason #2 to Grow Calendula
Calendula Is an Edible Flower with Healing Properties
Calendula isn't just good for my garden and its health, it's good for my health, as well.
I enjoy using calendula both to make healing salves and massage oils, as well as for homegrown teas and tinctures. I love this list of ideas on how to use calendula blooms from The Nerdy Farm Wife.
Calendula is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can be enjoyed either internally by drinking tea from dried calendula leaves or externally by creating calendula salve or oil. In other words, calendula doesn't just look pretty, it can make you feel pretty great, too.
Warning: Calendula can cause an allergic reaction for some and isn't fully tested yet for pregnant or breastfeeding women, so be sure to test small amounts before going crazy for calendula!
Reason #3 to Grow Calendula
Calendula Protects Your Kitchen Garden Soil
Another reason I love growing calendula is because it helps maintain the health of my kitchen garden soil.
In the garden, bare and exposed soil is not ideal. With calendula planted in corners or along the borders of my kitchen garden, I know that there will be less bare soil in my kitchen garden, and this means less watering, less weeding, and less worrying.
Adding calendula throughout the kitchen garden helps ensure that there will be diversity throughout my garden beds and less exposed soil throughout the growing season.
Reason #4 to Grow Calendula
Calendula Is a Great Trap Crop
Calendula, being in the Asteraceae family, loves the cool weather of spring and fall, but it can last through the summer months in some climates, as well. Because calendula grows during the same seasons as greens, lettuces, and kales, I love using the plant as a trap crop.
A trap crop is simply a plant that's used to attract pests that would otherwise attack other garden crops. In other words, calendula can be the perfect decoy for your leafy greens—attracting all the aphids and caterpillars its way with its shiny and beautiful flowers so that those bugs stay away from your beautiful organic salad greens.
And the good news? The flowers are still completely pick-able and edible even when aphids are hanging out on the stalks.
Time to Plant Some Calendula Flowers
Have I convinced you yet?
For me, calendula is a must-add to the kitchen garden each year. I'll be planting calendula along the edges of my raised beds in early spring and will plan to harvest the blooms all summer and fall long.