I’m a #lifefromscratch kind of gal. I love to prepare nutritious, wholesome meals at home. I totally love all things DIY and I’ve experimented with making my own coconut flour and coconut milk, my own medicated lip balm and orange vanilla whipped body butter. But there is one area of #lifefromscratch that I have yet to tackle. That area is gardening!
I say that I have a “black thumb” because I seem to be able to kill even the hardiest of house plants (you know, the ones people say you can’t kill). For some reason growing my own garden is so intimidating to me! Yet I still have the overwhelming urge to grow my own food! I feel like growing your own food is so rewarding in so many ways. There’s something amazing about eating the freshest of fresh vegetables right out of the ground that just feels good.
This year I’m going to conquer my fear. I figure, I’ll never be good at it unless I just go for it, right? Right. I’ll make plenty of mistakes and I’ll learn as I go. One thing I do have going for me is that my dad is what I call a master gardener (he’s not actually a master gardener, but to me he is).
As long as I can remember, my dad has grown a wonderfully beautiful and prolific garden. He’s grown everything from tomatoes and corn to peppers and radishes. He even has a recipe for a Homemade Garlic Spray (a non-toxic insecticide) to keep away the bugs!
Connecting Past and Present
One of my fondest memories as a little girl is being out in the garden with my dad, picking peas, and eating them straight out of the pods. Peas never tasted so sweet! I have dreams of creating those same memories with my own little ones. I also remember seeing my dad’s poor blistered, calloused and completely torn up hands! All of the raking and digging and pulling sure takes a toll. The sign of hard work, for sure.
My first attempt at a garden this year won’t be nearly as extensive as his. I’m just doing a small raised bed garden. However, I’m still anticipating some level of wear and tear on the two best tools God gave me- my hands! So I’ve prepared for that by doing a DIY that’s more in my wheelhouse to warm myself up- a DIY Healing Hand Salve for Garden Hands! I’ve made a strong effort to switch over all of my personal care products to non-toxic options. Most (if not all) of your everyday, run-of-the-mill lotions, balms and salves that you find at the supermarket or corner drug store are made from petroleum by-products.
Why is that significant? Well, about 60% of what you put on your skin (your largest organ) is absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, it circulates throughout your body and covers your cells with a wax-like (petroleum) coating. This makes it difficult to get oxygen and nutrients into the cell and waste to get out of the cell.
You can see why this is problematic. Over time, the accumulation of petroleum products in your body has the capacity to do some serious damage. And petroleum is just one of the toxins in most of these personal care products. Add in fragrance, parabens, dyes and pthalates, and you have a recipe for disaster. It’s really not difficult at all to make your own lotions, balms, cosmetics, etc. Once you have the ingredients on hand, you can pretty much whip up most anything in a matter of a few minutes.
Sweating is healthy, and you’ll be doing quite a bit of it while gardening. Make sure you don’t stink and DIY your own deodorant utilizing a lot of the same ingredients.
The ingredients I use in this DIY Healing Hand Salve for Garden Hands are the ingredients that I use for many different recipes (like my Stretch Mark Salve), just in different proportions. And believe me when I tell you that it’s really satisfying to make your own products and have confidence that they are doing the healing they’re intended to do, rather than harm. Plus it’s just fun to make your own stuff!
You should also take note of the tools you’ll want to stock up on for tackling all of your DIY projects. Also once you start infusing your oils nothing will stop you from trying other recipes like Calendula Infused Lip Balm.
- ½ cup olive oil (substitutes: almond oil, jojoba oil or apricot kernel oil - organic is great for any and all carrier oils)
- (figure out which carrier oil is best for you!)
- ½ cup dried organic calendula flowers
- 4 Tbsp coconut oil (organic, unrefined)
- 2 Tbsp beeswax pastilles (high-quality for cosmetic use)
- 2 Tbsp shea butter (organic, unrefined)
- Essential oils of choice - I use 10 drops lavender and 10 drops Melaleuca Alternifolia (aka tea tree oil)
- First create a double boiler to infuse your olive oil with the calendula.
- WHOA! Hold the phone! Say what? Okay that sounds fancy schmancy but it's so not at all. It's really easy. Get a small sauce pan and put about an inch of water in it. Heat it on the stove top over medium heat. Find a glass bowl that sits on the sauce pan, making sure that the glass does NOT touch the water in the pan.
- Add the olive oil to the glass bowl, and toss in the calendula flowers. Stir them up so that the calendula is covered by oil. Let it heat slowly for 30-60 minutes.
- When it's done infusing, your nose will know! The calendula will become fragrant and the olive oil will take on a green hue.
- Remove it from the heat and strain the flowers out of the oil.
- Return the infused olive oil to the double boiler.
- Over low heat, add in the coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax. When those have melted, remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for 15-20 minutes.
- It should be cool enough to touch, because you don't want to add essential oils to a screamin' hot mixture, else it will destroy the medicinal properties of the essential oil.
- When it has cooled enough to touch, add in the essential oils and stir them around. Pour the mixture into an airtight, glass (yes glass is important!) container.
- Pop it in the fridge to let it harden.
I selected essential oils for specifically for their individual properties. Lavender is particularly soothing to the skin and is wonderful for cuts, scrapes, bruises, etc. Tea Tree oil is well known for it’s antiseptic and antibacterial properties. I also like to store in in the fridge so that the olive oil in the recipe doesn’t go rancid. It will last for months that way!
Use it on those calloused and torn up garden hands! Happy gardening!