Calendula, Erfurter (Organic)
Calendula officinalis. 65-70 days. Perennial in zones 8-10.
Fully double, bright orange flowers on 18-24” plants. Erfurter is a preferred variety for commercial production in the US, with larger flowers and a somewhat higher resin content than Resina. Also blooms profusely, but not as prolifically as Resina. Petals can be used to make a natural dye, or even fed to chickens to keep egg yolks extra vibrant. (No joke! There is calendula produced In Italy for this specific purpose!) For easy harvest, we prefer to pick the petals off flowering heads when they just start to dry and turn inward. Variety originates in Germany, where its full name is Erfurter Orangefarbigen. Aka, Orange Zinger.
Direct sow ½” deep, very early in the spring or in the fall to overwinter plants for early blooms. Thin plants to 6-12”. Prefers 60-70°F soil temp. Germination in 10-20 days.
Collect seeds from seed heads that are fully dry. Shell by hand or by dancing, winnow to clean. Finish air-drying if necessary before sealing in airtight container. Some cross-pollination may occur, isolate from other varieties of the same species by ¼ mile.