FINALLY FINISHED! Well, with this plot anyway. I have 27 left over Phenomenal plants - see pictured. Will be arranging for tractor dude - as I call him - to come out and till another area for our second plot. He is so reasonably priced and local it's far cheaper than purchasing our own tractor with tiller attachment at this point. It was not in our original plan to do another plot, but this is always a work in progress. We we will have an area tilled and ready to go with some plants in the ground and space to plant for next year.
The grassy area pictured at the end of the current field is where I plan to do the next plot.. I am going to plant these 27 extra plants this year and preorder 72 Royal Velvet for next spring. I wanted this variety because it is a GREAT culinary lavender and has a very deep purple color, but I was unable to find it this year locally. There were a couple of lavnder farmers in the state who had it but it would have required a 3-hour, one-way trip to go get them Normally I am not one to mind a road trip, but with moving, planting, graduation party, and lots of orders to fulfill it just wasn't possible. By next summer e will have over 300 plants in the ground with 5 different varieties 4 English and 2 intermediate (if all plants make it through the winter) Thanks for following this journey. Will keep posting news and updates.
We started tilling our plot a few of weekends ago. This is our first year of large planting. We had a small plot at our suburban home before we moved early this year. Since moving, we have a couple of acres to work with. I thought we were starting out small - until the plot was tilled and we started spreading the weed barrier and it didn't seem so small anymore!
This has been a learning process. I have done several trial plots at our old home and also when we lived in Marquette, but the plants numbers were relatively small (under 30 plants). This has been about 3 years in the making and the time had finally come to do our own lavender field! It has been a dream come true, but also it has been a trial and error process.
First, we had our friend bring his chain saw and we had to take down some hefty tree branches that were shading the proposed planting area. Then, we attempted to till the area with our neighbors tiller. However, it was not strong enough to get through the grass. We went to plan B. We found a local man who had a tractor with a tiller attachment and paid him to come till our plot. That worked great! However, after tilling and putting down the weed barrier, we realized we miscalculated and not all the plants would fit in the plot! We will end up having 26 extra plants with no place to go. Oh no! On to Plan C.
We are finishing up the plants that will fit in the current plot. I have one more row of Phenomenal to plant tomorrow. Then, we will call our handy tractor friend to come out and till another small plot adjacent to the current plot to place the left over plants. Which means more weed barrier and so forth. However, we will have a new plot tilled for next year to add more plants!
This has been a process and learning experience. I knew it was going to be a lot of work and it definitely was WAY more physical than I anticipated. My husband had valve replacement surgery in January and his tolerance for heat and exertion is not 100% yet. He went down with heat exhaustion one day, which was very scary, but he is doing much better and we are all much more cautious to get out early on hot days and keep hydrated.
I relied very heavily on my sons to help me as well. Thank you to Kyle and Conner. I appreciate wholeheartedly all the hard work they did digging, planting, laying tarp, watering. Our little granddaughter even jumped in and was having fun putting down the pea gravel. She loves the lavender field and that is her in the picture above this post.
Weather: Friend or Foe? Wouldn't you know the week we have been planting was in upper 80s and 90s. However, at least we didn't have to fight a lot of rain. We learned to get up and out in the field very early while the plot was shaded in the morning. Some days we had to stop by 10:30 or 11:00 in the morning due to heat.
Once we got to planting it was much more enjoyable, but we had about 225 plants between our new plants and older transplants from the other house. The varieties we planted are: Grosso, Phenomenal, Folgate, Hidcote, and Melissa. I am hoping to get some Royal Velvet and possibly Violet Intrigue next season.
I am very grateful to a handful of friends who came to help us plant. They worked hard and sweated with us. We couldn't have done it without you, Tommy and Tina. While I don't know it if necessarily "fun" for all involved, the hard work has paid off as we are nearing the end of planting. I do know my fitbit has been exploding in fireworks for meeting and exceeding my step goals. Who needs a gym with this kind of work out.?
I will keep everyone updated and post more pictures as we continue to progress. It's our second son's grad party this weekend! So we will be taking a planting break for the party and a bonfire following.
A reminder our shop is OPEN! While it's a challenge juggling orders (it's wedding season) and planting I am finally feeling caught up. Please stop by our store and check our products out.
Happy summertime to all! Enjoy the gallery that documents our planting experience so far.