Friday, July 1, 2016

Lavender Harvest, Growing and Drying

Lavender is my favorite herb. I fell in love with its scent in my early teens and have yet to grow tired of it. I have tons of lavender scented bath and body products, room sprays, candles even fabric softener around our home. But I'm has to be true lavender, that sort of musky, herb scent. I love lavender so much that our down stairs bathroom is lavender themed. I have lavender towels, lavender art and many bouquets, swags and wreaths of dried lavender.

I compost my lavender in the spring with composted goat manure and I mulch heavily in the fall. I also cut the entire plant back by a third to stop woodiness and shrub-like tendencies. When a plant gets about 18 inches wide, I divide it.

I simply dig up the root ball and cut the roots it in half with a serrated kitchen knife. Then replant the two halves.

Some of the varieties that we grow are Munstead (the lighter, bluer shade on left ) and Hidcote (The darker more purple-y shade on right) We also grow Phenomenal and Grosso, which is one of the most fragrant lavenders.

I pick lavender with scissors, grabbing a handful of stems and chopping just above the bushy-leafy part of the plant. It reminds me of giving the plant a haircut.

To dry the lavender I cut 5 inch lengths of thin elastic. You can also use rubber bands or hair ties. Anything with an elastic property works well because as the lavender dries, the stems shrink. The elastic will cinch up as the stems become smaller. I've tried tying the stems with twine or string and as the bunches shrink, the stems slip out of the loop and fall on the ground.

After they were tied, I strung a bit of yarn across a corner on our front porch and used clothespins to hang the bunches. Ideally, a less window-y spot would be best, but we don't really have a room like that in our house. These windows aren't really sunny because of the large Hickory and Maple trees we have on the front lawn.

1 comment:

Sandra Morris said...

I have always wanted to grow lavender. There have been a couple of failed attempts. Thank you for sharing the info, I eventually will try again!

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