Question of the day: How many lavender plants constitute a lavender farm? I broached this pressing concern with Jeff at zero dark thirty this morning while planting lavender in neat rows on one of the hottest days of the year.
We completed our planting task as the sun had just risen, before moving on to trimming the suckers off the trees in the castañada (chestnut) grove. And his answer? Well, three servers are technically a server farm, so all these lavender plants probably make us lavender farmers.
Could we have plowed this area up and gone the traditional route? Yes. But we are experimenting on planting them to maximize the natural soil conditions. We are not plowing and exposing top soil to erosion which is so detrimental to sustainable farming. And contributes to the negative impacts of climate change. And we are hoping to maximize water retention and the respect the biodiversity below ground. Will it mean extra work? Yes, it will, but we have taken a bunch of factors into account and we will see how it goes.
Lavender likes rocky, sandy soil. It does not like it’s roots wet for extended periods. Below the surface, the cavern is bigger than you see, where we mixed in sand and rocks to simulate it’s preferred conditions and I’m hoping the drainage will be adequate so this test patch will thrive.
I like the idea of planting something that will grow from year to year. No required soil disruption. And this crop makes people happy. Lavender, and it’s properties, have been used medicinally for millennia for healing, and it’s calming impact when the scent is inhaled. We have it in a defuser going almost constantly. It repels mosquitoes and other pests in the house, naturally. I plan to press organic lavender oil, and make other products like soap, to sell in my little business that is taking shape.
I’m also thinking next year we may do some bee keeping. Lavender honey. Yum 😋. Jeff is keen on this idea. I saw that our local hardware store stocks bee keeping supplies. More on that later.
And it’s no wonder I have taken to farming like a duck to water. I found these photos of my grandparents on their farm recently, from back in the 1950’s. They farmed strawberries, and even had a sheep farm in Oregon in the 1960’s. The one of my grandmother with the goats made me smile. Since she lived to 97 1/2 years old, I’m pretty sure farming is good for your health.
While Jeff made the holes and I mixed the soil and planted the starts, we chatted away. No phones. No iPads. No tech of any kind. Just hands in the soil, the hauling of branches, and some creaking and moaning as our pandemically out of shape bodies remember what physically hard work entails. But they’re all in the ground. 60 plants. I’ll keep you posted on how the experiment is going.