What varieties of lavender do you grow?
Our farm has 31 different varieties of lavender. True Grosso, Provence then Hidcote and Maillette are our most common plants. We also have a good bit of Munstead, Royal Velvet and Sachet. Along with those we have Buena Vista, Folgate, Giant Impress, Fat Spike and others. We also have some pinks. We grow about 100 Melissa plants and 100 Miss Katherine (miniature pink).
How difficult is it to create and run a lavender farm? I’d have to say growing lavender is not difficult; however commitment to your plants’ needs is essential. The farming cycle demands that the grower attends to the farm day-in and day-out. If you are a person who enjoys this routine, growing lavender can be a labor of love. If not, you would probably consider growing lavender to be a difficult job.
What challenges have you faced? ZONING…zoning…zoning. If having the public on the farm is important to you, then you really need to work with the zoning committee to determine if you fit the agritourism regulations in your area. We had to pay to widen the entrance to our lane to meet standards for a commercial entrance and we have recently had to get a special use permit, allowing us to have public meetings. All the neighbors had to agree that we could be open to the public. Kindness, honesty and clarity of your goals make a big difference. In many areas people have to be educated on why lavender might be a good crop to grow!
Do you have advice for people who are thinking about growing lavender? Growers must be committed to good farming practices. First, it is important to determine your desired end product. Do you want to specialize in the buds and dried flowers or in distilling the oils? Will you be primarily bath & body or will you specialize in gourmet food items? Will your farm be open to the public? The answer to these questions will determine how you grow your facilities. Do you need a certified kitchen, dedicated space for processing, bottling equipment, distillery, etc? Do your zoning laws allow the type of farm you envision?