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Planting Lavender

Planting Lavender

Hand cultivating for lavender plants is an excellent workout! Our record number of lavender plants in the ground in one hour …. drum roll please….384! That’s 384 lavender plants in the ground in just one hour. OK, maybe not such a big deal if you have a machine to do all the work for you. We had 5 adults and 7 kids out there planting with us. And the two Mormon missionaries were the BOM! (No pun intended.)

See What’s Cooking for Summer

See What’s Cooking for Summer

Nothing says summer quite like the color yellow! This summer we’ll be adding several new products including this one…a Lavender Calendula and Oatmeal exfoliating bar of Goat’s milk soap. You’re skin will love it!

Marigolds by Robert Graves
With a fork drive Nature out,
She will ever yet return;
Hedge the flowerbed all about,
Pull or stab or cut or burn,
She will ever yet return.Look: the constant marigold
Springs again from hidden roots.
Baffled gardener, you behold
New beginnings and new shoots
Spring again from hidden roots.
Pull or stab or cut or burn,
They will ever yet return.

Gardener, cursing at the weed,
Ere you curse it further, say:
Who but you planted the seed
In my fertile heart, one day?
Ere you curse me further, say!
New beginnings and new shoots
Spring again from hidden roots.
Pull or stab or cut or burn,
Love must ever yet return.

USLGA Conference 2017

USLGA Conference 2017

You know you’re in good company when you attend the US Lavender Growers Conference! This weekend I was able to attend the conference along with over 200 other lavender enthusiasts in Mesa, Arizona, each with their own story and beginning. Men and women from all walks of life with lavender farms scattered throughout the states and overseas. Entrepreneurs, gardeners, herbalists, culinary artists, masterful producers of so many lavender products all very familiar with the labor intensive work of farming lavender.

Highlights include

  • An 8 hr. workshop tasting and smelling lavender with Mesha Munyan, an award winning designer of natural perfumes, and Chris Mulder, the creator of an extensive line of delicious lavender goodies.
  • Purchasing the very last signed copy of the popular cookbook “The Art of Cooking with Lavender” by Nancy Baggett.
  • Talking with the creator of the microwave distiller, David Hackleman. (I hope some of that inventive spirit will rub off!)
  • Classes on propagating lavender, phytophthora, agritourism, marketing strategies for farms, all taught by industry gurus.
  • Securing lavender plugs straight from New Zealand. (I can’t wait to bring some of New Zealand to Wisconsin!)

Best of all, catching up with our ‘lavender growing’ friends in Michigan and making connections with so many new friends! Lavender Season 2017 here we come!

Weeded!

Weeded!

What does it take to weed 3/4 of an acre of lavender by hand?
150 Hours of manual labor
8 Hand held weeding tools, 2 rakes, 2 large buckets
7 Helping hands–mom, dad, kids.
5 Days straight weeding
4 Tubs of Cedar Crest ice cream
2 Large drink jugs of lemonade
1 Costco sized box of popsicles
Pandora music, sweat, patience, tears, patience, more patience!
18 days till Rowley Creek Farm officially opens June 25 2016! Check out the size of those plants!!

Weeded1

Lavender Uncovered!

Lavender Uncovered!

The moment of truth has arrived… how did the plants survive the winter? Last year we lost about 25% of the lavender plants in the field and just about every single plant had suffered major winter kill. The field looked pathetic. We decided to give it time, and thankfully, we did. Our patience and AJ’s optimism paid off, as the plants began to develop tiny sprouts of green growth at the base of what looked to be completely dead lavender plants.

Two things got us last year… 1st, mice–this we hadn’t anticipated at all. I suppose it was much warmer under the cover and winter was so bad they couldn’t find anything to eat so they ate the lavender. (Most animals do not like the taste of lavender–our experience shows otherwise). And 2nd, as the temps rose in spring we didn’t want the plants to cook under the cover, so what did we do? We uncovered the plants. Well, in our zone the last day of frost is late may and sure enough we got hit with a ‘surprise’ freezing rainstorm. I still remember hearing the pinging sounds of ice outside late that evening. We quickly put on our raincoats and covered up the plants. Hopefully this year we are a little more prepared for those unanticipated ice storms.

So, how did we fare this winter? I’m happy to report that the lavender plants look amazing! There are very few plants that look overly stressed or damaged. Most are already greening up. (They tend to be more grey in color when they are dormant.) We are looking forward to a vibrant purple season!!

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