Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Planting Lavender This Fall?

Please visit us soon at one of the farmers markets or events listed in the right sidebar of this blog OR in the events section of our website- Here you can purchase plants directly from us! We are offering several varieties of lavender including Grosso, Silver Anouk, Provence, Munstead, French Fringe, etc. Since we are offering plants again this weekend, we thought it would be nice to brush up on planting information & techniques.

Our native clay soil and humid conditions are a challenge for lavender. Select a garden location with full sun and take the following steps to help you successfully grow this delightful herb.
  • Requires well-drained soils. Raised beds and containers work well too.
  • Sandy, sandy/loam or gravelly.
  • Low fertility.
  • Soil pH – 6.5 – 7.5
 If lavender is grown in a container, the temperature will be 15 colder than if it is planted in the ground. With this in mind, winter protection is needed. It will be best outdoors by burying the pot, covering the pot with burlap, straw or some other protective covering. Locate the potted lavender on the southwestern side of a structure to capture maximum sun and warmth during the coldest months. Tucked close to a building will allow it to stay warm. A corner is a good spot so that it is protected from winter winds. Lavender does not enjoy being an indoor plant since it can rarely get enough sun to satisfy it. If you do not have a spot as described and need to bring it in during the winter, just be sure to locate it in a sunny, warm window. You may take it outdoors on those gifts of days when it is sunny with balmy temperatures. By the time spring arrives, it should green up and do just fine.
Soil Preparation-
  • Create an 18-24" mound with well cultivated soil.
  • Using a trowel, dig a hole just deep enough for the plant.
  • Place 2 heaping handfuls of 1" round stone, ½ cup total of equal parts of bone meal, lime and well composted manure in the bottom of hole and mix well. The stone will allow the soil drain well, the lime improve the pH, bone meal and compost for a healthy.
  • Water your lavender well in its nursery pot and let it sit for an hour or more before planting.
  • Prune the top of the plant to ensure a nice bushy, productive plant.
  • Remove all planting material from root, so plant will be placed in the ground bare root.
  • Place plant just above the blend of stone/lime/bone meal/compost, not allowing the roots to touch the blend and gather soil around base of plant.
  • Space plants 36" for good air circulation since they will grow quickly and fill in the space.
  • Trim first year buds.
Lavender blooms at its peak in its third year producing about 1000 stems.
  • Herbs thrive on neglect once established. Care for young lavender as you would any new perennial. When well rooted, lavender is tolerant of heat and dry spells. Water if there is a drought. Over watering leads to root rot which will cause lavender to die.
  • Prevent weeds by mulching with a light colored mulch like coarse sand, gravel or oyster shells. The sun will reflect light, keeping the plants dry and help deter disease and enhance bloom and oil production.
  • Toss a handful of bone meal/lime/compost blend around base of plant in the fall just before rain or water afterward.
The lavender varieties that grow well in our area will bloom from about Memorial Day to July 4th. So, look forward to summer and when your lavender blooms, sit back, breathe in its fresh delightful scent and enjoy!
Fall is an EXCELLENT time to plant lavender!!

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