Well, spring is coming and with it the first of our lavender plants are expected to go into the ground. Actually, I think it may be here. I bet we’ve got one more big frost coming and then the wind will start signaling that Spring is here. We’ve been plotting a lavender hobby farm since we bought the place, but our planting plans were not so much torpedoed as rearranged last year when we discovered that the Lilliputian was on the way. Can you imagine being 8 months pregnant, bent over in the field trying to dig 900 planting holes? No? Me neither. So we decided to press “pause” in our plans, lay our egg and go at it again this spring. You just can’t have too much planning time, I don’t think.
So I spent the winter reading and researching and having Fixer Guy draw me little pictures of irrigation manifolds and property boundaries. Here’s how the plan looks so far: 800-900 lavender plants, attendant soaker lines and landscape fabric. Varieties still TBD, but a mix of high oil yielding varieties, varieties suitable for floral or crafting projects, early and late bloomers and possibly some varieties that have multiple blooming periods.
I expect that we’ll be able to start getting the little monsters in the ground some time in April. If all goes well and the plants are thriving, we would still have time for another round later in the summer. My feeling is that the lavender in the yard has done well in our climate with little or no care for the year that the house was unoccupied and did even better with the small attention that we gave them since we’ve been in the house.
Worst case? The neighbors have something much prettier to look at than what’s there now. We plan to purchase our starts from Victor’s Lavender. Victor’s plants come highly recommended by other growers, many of whom grow for retail rather than wholesale customers. He also does consulting, if lavender cultivation is something you’re interested in doing.
Here’s a photo of our expected lavender plot. We have irrigation risers already in place down the length of the property but they need attention, so we plan to rehab them one at a time as we are ready to go on line irrigating our plants. I’ll let you know if that works out to be the right decision.
Our growing area is a funny shape, with a large irrigation ditch forming one boundary on the northwest side and two county roads forming the other 2 sides. The house is set at an angle back from the road, so we have an irregular polygon to work with. Since I fancy myself as an orderly sort of girl (Lies! Self-delusion!) I want to plan in straight rows off the road on the south side. That should give us an easy straight line for irrigation systems to work off as well.
Next steps: firm up variety selections, soil testing and soil amendments