After purchasing the farm in October of 2016, we've spent most of the winter cleaning and sprucing up the house, garage/barn, and other areas immediately surrounding the house. As May rolled around, it was time to tackle the field. Doreen attended community farming co-op sessions run by Cornell University. She learned what the best soil composition would be for our venture and then collected soil samples from different sections of the field. Each of the samples was carefully labeled and returned to Cornell, who tested the samples and returned a diagnosis of each. In addition to testing the soil composition, Doreen also concentrated on discovering what areas got the most sun and provided the best drainage. It turned out that our soil was a little too acidic for optimal lavender growing, so Doreen began researching methods to reduce the acidity in the soil.
Luckily for us, the field was mostly cleared when we purchased the property. There were approximately 30 downed trees spreading down the South-East side of the field, but the sunniest and highest portions of the property were in the North-West corner. Manny and Joe used the brush-hog to tame the overgrown portions of the field. This allowed us to start planting our first few rows, without any complications.
Mia and Doreen took the lead on planting the first two rows in May. The weather was still chilly, but we wanted to make sure they would have an opportunity to flourish in the region's notoriously short growing season.
The little plants needed lots of care in their first year and Doreen patiently nurtured them day by day. She monitored their growth and did her best to make sure they had everything they needed to thrive.
Because we started out with more mature plants, they bloomed in their very first year. We use every part of the lavender plant: leaves, stems, buds, and blooms for our various projects. The leaves are especially fragrant and great for making essential oils!
Now that our plants were growing, we started to dream big and think about the various uses. Doreen spearheaded this venture.