Every year we remove a number of plants because they are old and not producing much lavender. Sometimes, it has been such a rainy season that the plant roots are drowning and the plant begins to rot and form a hole in the center of the plant. Once this happens, it’s not worth keeping because it will never return to glory.
Planting begins in May when we can get outside and the soil isn’t too soggy. Lavender likes sandy soil with good drainage, We have red clay on our land, therefore, it is important to plant on a slope if possible and for us, that’s on the west side of the barn. It’s not necessary to fertilize lavender and that makes it easy to care for. No pesticides are used because it is a natural repellent and it is deer resistant.
Drip irrigation is what is used in the fields and for established plants there is no need to water too much unless the weather is particularly dry and hot for a long period of time. On the other hand, new plants need plenty of water to get established and continue growing.
The lavender is ready for harvest when the flowers begin to open under the warmth of the sun. If the sun has been out for several days in a row and the oil begins to run within the plant and the flower buds begin to open to show its color, then it’s ready to harvest. We use a serrated, curved knife for cutting the stems that are then bundled and tied with a rubber band to hang in the barn on wire. Fans are placed throughout for air circulation in order to prevent mildew.