No doubt about it, I like digging in the dirt. Now that spring is officially upon us, and the weather is behaving accordingly, I’ve been working with all manner of soil and compost and manure and more. Seeds have been planted, weeds have been cleared, and mulch has been spread. All of which has taken a toll on my hands. Even when I’m wearing gloves, my hands still come out calloused and worn. Which is why I turn to my homemade garden salve.
You can whip up this salve with just a few simple ingredients and about 10 minutes time in the kitchen. This all-natural salve can soon be moisturizing your own hands, or those of a dirt-digging friend or loved one, as it makes a great gift (Mother’s and Father’s Day are coming!). Not only is it deeply emollient, the lavender, rosemary, and tea tree oils used in it all contain antibacterial properties, great for putting the kibosh on any organisms encountered while toiling the soil. Lather up before you put your gloves on, and then again later, after you’ve worked the dirt and washed up. Dig in the dirt, and then dig this salve! –Ashley English
This recipe makes about 3/4 cup of salve, so you can go with either an 8-ounce container for a large amount of salve, or spread it out over several smaller containers, such as 1 and 2-ounce sizes. The salve works best within 6 months of making it, and will keep for up to one year. For the beeswax, you can use either small pastille (pellets) like those pictured here, or grated beeswax from a solid block.
Garden Hand Salve
Makes: 3/4 cup
-10 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1/4 cup beeswax (pastilles or grated wax)*
-3 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil
-8 drops lavender essential oil
-8 drops tea tree oil
-8 drops rosemary essential oil
-1/2 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
*I sourced my beeswax pastilles from Mountain Rose Herbs.
1) Place about 2-inches of water in the bottom of a small pan.
2) Put a pourable heatproof glass or metal container in the middle of the pan (I used a Pyrex measuring cup).
3) Add the olive oil, beeswax, and coconut oil to the container.
4) Bring the water to a boil, and stir with a wooden utensil until everything has melted (I used a wooden chopstick to stir).
5) Once everything has liquified, remove the pan from the heat. Add the lavender, rosemary, tea tree, and Vitamin E oils. Stir to fully disperse.
6) Carefully pour the oil into the container(s).
7) Once the oil has cooled and solidified, label and date. Store in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
What about you? How do you care for your hands when it comes to outdoor work? I’d love to know. Happy growing!
*Images and styling by Jen Altman.