Friday, July 16, 2010

Harvesting the Lavender Crop

Welcome fellow Master Gardener Jerry Lewis with this guest post on harvesting his Lavender crop:

One of the first plants I planted when we built our house was lavender - love the look and the smell and it always stands out in the garden. This year I finally decided to harvest and use what I grew. After checking with several online and printed resources, I got started. It turned into a very pleasant morning.

First of all, start on a day when it has been dry for several days (that hasn’t been too hard lately). I gave each of the six lavender plants a haircut, trimming them back almost to the old wood (but leaving some of the new). I laid them out and bundled them with wire, then hung them under a covered shed porch to dry. Other than the 50 or 60 bees that accompanied me wherever I went, I accomplished this all by myself. They have been out there for 10 days now, and have dried nicely except for one bundle. One source suggested tying them with rubber bands, as the stems shrink as they dry. One of my bundles completely fell out of the wire, apparently because they dried a little too much. So I check every other day and tighten the wire a bit.

So far, they look good and smell good. I think my wife is claiming them for potpourri of some sort - the flower heads dry and are easily removed by shaking or cutting. She tells me the lavender will help me sleep better - I have always been plagued by insomnia, so will try it and report back... I waited a little too long to save the flower head on the stem - to do that you have to cut the lavender once a couple flowers have blossomed so they keep their color. Included a couple pictures of the experiment for your edification...


  1. Wow Jerry! What fine looking lavender you have. It was the very first perennial I ever grew. I just love it, as do the bees. I grow it mainly for them. Rarely do I harvest it for personal use. And you are right, it does make a statement in the garden and is so easy to grow. If you want a real lavender treat, try the Lavender Festival at Willow Pond Farms in Fairfield. Also, our fellow Master Gardener, Evelyn, makes a lavender walnut that is divine! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I grew some a long time ago...makes me want to grow it again.