The last few months of winter on the farm have been like "The Shining". Can we say cabin fever galore? Rain, Rain oh yeah and some more rain. Although farmers need rain, we sure do wish there was a happy medium. We are about 50 minutes west of Savanah, Georgia in a little town with one flashing light. Small town USA for sure. This is a farming community. From Vidalia onions, cotton and there is even a hemp farm that opened. We did not go the usual route and grow onions and cotton. We like the impossible it seems. We decided on Lavender.
Our first round we decided to do Grosso, Royal Velvet and Folgate. Grosso has a high oil harvest and really just your all around everything Lavender, Royal Velvet and Folgate are more pretty and for culinary. Our first 600 plants went in May 2019. We are down to about 250 - 300. Most of that is Grosso. Ok, so we know which cultivar are not going to work and be able to survive our torrential rains in the winter and our heat waves and drought in the summer. I am on my way to pick up 500 Phenomenal Lavender tomorrow. We are excited about this Lavender because it is a hybrid lavender creation that is suppose to be able to survive the heat and still deliver all the benefits of the Grosso Lavender. Our Grosso will be mature this year at two years old, they gave us a nice harvest last year, we are super excited to see how much they give us this year.
The work involved: Just for a little insight on how much work it is to man a lavender farm. Lavender is a specialty crop, which means, no tools are made specifically for caring for these plants until really recently. The implements I have found are priced astronomical ( CHA CHING). With Lavender, Colin has had to use his engineering skills alot. Even with those skills, it is labor intensive. Each plant is hand planted, and hand pruned at least twice a season. Not only do you hand prune them but you better prune each stem in just the right spot or thats it, it will not grow back. Not too high, not too low. Each plant is pretty much a sitting baby. Imagine having 600 babies for only 2 people to watch. When we got the Lavender in, we were blessed to have our adopted mom ( Big shout out to Patty Goetz) who came and helped us plant each one. It was hot, and back breaking. We were able to get them in the ground in about 5 days. Then it was time to pray and stare and then pray some more.
We are very happy with our choice in growing lavender. As with the goats, we have learned alot. This was never our one year goal, but our 5 year goal. To be able to walk out of our house and see rows of purple. To be able to open our farm up to others, to see the beauty we get to see. Lavender is said to be a great stress reliever, and to help calm you. (These are the words of others, I am not a doctor nor am I saying legally what it does.) What I do know and can say is there is nothing that can compare to being half way through the crop kneeling and pruning each beautiful flower. Its about the half way mark, you start to realize that it doesn't feel like work. That your mind is at peace and you can do nothing but admire the beauty your surrounded by. The bees are floating from flower to flower rolling in the lavender. You almost want to reach out and tickle their bellies. ( I would strongly advise not to do this!)
There is a harmony and quiet. The smell of the lavender is intoxicating and sweet. You want nothing more than that moment in time to pause......
This April we begin again adding 500 more 2 inch plugs to our field. It will be hot, and back breaking. What is keeping me going is that the next month, May, we will be harvesting our mature plants and we get to again experience the beauty and hard work. We get to be in the moment.
We hope that in the next 3 years our 5 acre field will be full of purple rows. We will then begin you pick events, and hope to host photographers catching perfect moments forever.
We hope you enjoyed "The Lavender" blog, stay tuned for many more blogs to come, and day to day life here on the farm. There is so much to see and things change daily around here. Leave a comment below if you have special request on what you would like to see.
Thank you for joining us and have a wonderful day!
Shauna & Colin