Top Tea to Harvest this Month – Calendula - by Cassie LiversidgeThursday, June 12th 2014 @ 11:11 AM
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)is one of the oldest cultivated flowers. They are believed to help with many things, including being antibacterial and helping the digestive system.
It should be grown as an annual plant each year and you can be harvesting your flowers within two months of sowing. Sow your seeds outside in a sunny place, either in seed trays or straight into your garden or planters. Keep the soil moist at all times as the plants are susceptible to powdery mildew if they dry out.
Harvest your calendula flowers when they are in full bloom and use the young fresh leaves alongside the flowers. Use the calendula fresh for a stunning cup of tea or dry for later use. The quickest and easiest way to dry the flowers is to pick the petals off of the flower heads and lay them on a baking sheet or mesh. Place the tray somewhere warm and well ventilated and keep turning them over to aid the drying process. You can dry them in a very low oven at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Centigrade). Remember to save some seeds from your calendula in the early Fall so that you won’t have to buy any for the following year. Calendula is a very mild tasting tea, so try blending it with a stronger tasting plant such as cilantro for a fresh detox tea.
Find more information on calendula, and all the other teas in my tea blog, in my book Homegrown Tea.
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CASSIE LIVERSIDGE was born in the UK and studied fine art at Plymouth University. She grew up on her parents’ plant nursery, where her love of gardening began. Her debut book, Pasta Sauce! Grow Your Own Ingredients, came from a desire to share her passion for eating homegrown food and living in a more sustainable way. She lives and works in London with her husband and two sons, but spends time in New York each year. Cassie is author of Homegrown Tea, released March 2014. Visit her website at cassieliversidge.com