Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Growing commercial Lavender

We are always starting new projects here at the ranch.  Mainly because I get bored with old projects, but also because some enterprises succeed and others don't or because we don't like certain projects after we start them or because we have empty space or....  I think you get the idea.  So we've always wanted to grow lavender.  It's beautiful, smells good, it's a good tourist attractor and it's even edible.  You can also reportedly make pretty good money per acre.  However, I don't know anything about it so I'm going to blog about it as we research and discover things.  We may or may not go ahead with this project as we research it, but at least you'll be able to see the thought process, learn a few things and decide for yourself.

The first thing I've noticed is that there are a gazillion different varieties.  About 300 to be more exact.  So which ones do we grow?!  I still haven't figured it out, but there's been a few varieties that consistently pop up in my research.

Lavandin particularly Lavender Grosso:  This is the most fragrant of all the lavenders.  Also known as Lavandula Intermedia. It is a Lavandin, although I'm not quite sure what that means yet.  It is used in making perfumes and sachets and potpourri.  It is used to produce essential oils. 

Augustifolia: Oil producer.  This is True Lavender and makes the best oils.

So far it looks like most commercial farms grow these two types: Lavandin and Augustifolia.  Grosso seems very common, although there are many Lavandins.  Hidcote and Munstead seem to be the most common Augustifolias.  I'm not sure why yet, but I'll let you know when I figure it out.