Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Lavender Plants at Lovegrass Farm


Our Lavender Rows

We grow and sell Hardy Lavender Angustifolia Plants at Lovegrass Farm.  We have about 400 Mature Plants and we'll be selling two and three year old Czech Lavender Plants we raised from seed and overwintered in our field.  They will probably be available in Early June.  The Angustifolias have a sweeter lavender smell and are more hardy than the taller Intermedias.  We grow Munstead, Hidcote, Vera & Krajova Czech Lavenders.  Send us an email if you'd like to visit and cut your own bunches of lavender to take home.  They are usually blooming around mid-July.  To see some informative videos on lavender check out http://www.lavenderatstonegate.com/ in Oregon.




Planting   Lavender requires Good Drainage and a Sunny Spot to thrive.  Their roots go down about 1 ft. (30 cm.) so dig a generous hole.  Compost is beneficial at planting, but high levels of nitrogen for the long term will produce strong foliage growth but diminished flower production.  It needs a neutral ph, between 6.5 and 7.0 so add lime.  We also add mussel and oyster shells.  We have very sandy acidic soil and our lavender is on a slope facing South but we also mound our soil for increased drainage.  It helps with weed control to mulch around the plant but not a woody mulch that would retain moisture.  We use eel grass.  Large Lavender Farms use landscape cloth.   Lavender is a drought tolerant perennial.  We only water after transplanting and if we have a dry spell we give them a deep watering every few days until they're established.  Over watering can stress the plant.  (TIP: To get water down deep to the roots use a drill with a small bit or a finish nail to poke small holes into the bottom of a large plastic jug like a vinegar bottle and place close to the plant.  Fill with water and loosen the cover just a little to let air escape and the water will slowly seep into the ground.  If it's very dry you may have to do it a couple of times.)  Lavender does well in pots (Again, don't over water) We usually have them around our seating area allowing us to brush the plants to release the fragrance.  I just pop them back into the ground in late September.  (Great for apartment dwellers with a balcony)



Lavender Plants with New Flush of Growth in early June

Pruning   Lavender needs to be pruned every year to keep it from getting woody.  Your plants will last much longer (up to 20 years) and you will have much more blooms.  At Lovegrass Farm we prune our Lavender Plants in Spring once we see new growth at the base of the plant leaving about 2 inches (5 cm.) of growth on the stems.  When we begin pruning I'll post photos.  I'm a Visual Learner and I'm sure many other people are as well!  In August, once the flowers start going to seed we usually trim them back again, cutting back past the stems.  This will encourage the plant to bloom again in September but with  fewer blooms.    Drying   Different types of Lavender bloom at different times.  We usually harvest the flowers for drying when just a few buds are opening on the stems.  The color remains brighter.  Wrap the stems in elastic to hold them tight as they dry and hang upside down in a cool dry place out of the sun.  It can take a week or two for them to dry.  I'll tell you more about the many uses of Lavender on an upcoming Blog.








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