Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rain, rain, go away!

Rain, rain, go away, if not, the lavender will not stay! I hate rhymes, but with all this rain it feels like a never ending life in Washington state where they receive over 150 days of rain a year. I always wondered how they grow lavender in Sequim, Washington. It must be the elevation and location to the coast that keeps the rain inland more. As for our wet Ohio, this is the first time in  more than 5 years that I can remember a true April rainy season. That's the least I can say, we actually are way above our records and the lavender fields are feeling the challenge.

As some of you know, lavender does not like wet feet/roots. And with all this rain, we are keeping our fingers crossed and sending dry warm energy to our lavender fields. Our two ½ acre plots are two years apart while our oldest field is going on its fourth year. Root rot is the disease we are trying to avoid and as of now (knock on wood) we have avoided such damage and disease. Only the ice has affected our production killing nearly 200 plants in our fields. That’s a 10% loss in 4 years.

This year Peaceful Acres was approved for a SARE (Sustainable Agricultural Research Grant) which funds us to research better ways to help increase production in Ohio. With this backing by SARE and the dedication of our farm staff members and volunteers we will better understand how to avoid wet and icy weather. How will we do this? By utilizing different soil amendments to drain water from our raised and flat beds.  We will also utilize low hoop house tunnels during the winter and rainy season to avoid as mush moisture as possible. We believe with our research efforts we will be able to collect enough data to help other farms in the areas grow this healing crop.

In the long run the idea is to feed off our current production and determine a feasible way to extract oil in Ohio using oil producing lavender varieties. As of now these Lavundin oil varieties will not live long enough to produce oil over the plant’s 8-10 year perennial commercial cycle. When our research is complete we will have answers on how to help produce lavender commercially in Ohio. Being Ohio’s largest lavender farm we hope others can achieve the same goals we have set forth. And that would be producing a high income, low acreage crop of lavender.

Like we always say,

Peace, Love and Lavender!

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