Calendula, or Pot Marigold, is best direct seeded into the garden bed. It can be transplanted but the root system may be less robust and when you harvest flowers you may pull it out of the ground. I am speaking from personal experience. I do however use both methods. Plant seeds or transplants 6-12” spacing in rows 14” apart. This may be an intense grow but with good garden soil it is doable. Calendula likes her water, not wet feet but regular moist soil. Full sun is best.
Harvest & Parts Used
Flowers are the medicine with this beauty. In the heat of the day, when the flowers are fully opened is the optimal time to harvest. I pop the head off the stem. The calyx with the most sticky resin is the best Calendula medicine. The resin will collect on your tools and fingers so be prepared to clean them often. As with deadheading, the more often you harvest, the longer the plant will continue to flower. I typically harvest every 4-5 days from June to September.
Drying & Storage
It is okay to spread a thin layer on a tray to dry. However, I place each flower head with the open rays face down on the tray in a single layer. This technique spreads out the rays and makes the dried flowers appear larger and emphasizes their delicate beauty. Either way, dry it low and slow at 95-100 F for about 5-6 days. Make sure it is dry before you pack in plastic containers or it will mold. Long-term, put it in a cool, dark, dry location for up to 3 years. The bright color will fade with age.
I feature Calendula in my Bone Broth Mix and other tea blends. It also makes a great oil to both consume or use to make a salve or cream. It is a vulnerary which encourages healing of the tissue. You can tincture or make an oxymel or vinegar. It is a very versatile and its herbal actions include; cholagogue, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, emmenagogue and lymphagogue. The term "agogue" denote substances inducing the expulsion or secretion of an element, therefore Calendula lends herself nicely to being a detoxifyer.