Sunday, July 31, 2011

Getting Ready for Swiss Days.

I have a feeling I am going to be seeing this sort of thing on my front porch quite a bit over the next month.  We are getting ready for Swiss Days.  This order is bags.  You know the little Kraft ones that we have at the farmer's market. Kraft bags in two sizes and some spools of raffia.  Thank you UPS guy!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

How To Hang Dry Lavender

 While harvesting your lavender be sure to secure the bundles with a rubber band. The band shrinks as the stems shrink keeping your bundle intact. 
Once you have HARVESTED all of your lavender bush and have made the many stems into bundles like this ...
... it is time to hang them to dry.
 You can hang your bundles on a hanger in the closet or on a drying rack on the front porch (this is for a quick dry, there is more air flow on the porch than in the closet).  
It’s Simple; just cut, rubber band, and hang upside down in a dark ventilated place.  The dark location prevents the sun from altering the color of your harvest; the ventilation prevents your bouquets from molding.  Depending on the size of your bouquets and your climate your bundles will be dry and ready for defoliation in about ten days to two weeks.
You may be asking what you are going to "hang" them with.  If you have a paper clip, you can hang a lavender bundle to dry.  Just bend the clip so it resembles an, "S".  Slide one end under the rubber band and widen the other end to hang over what ever you are using. 
Once your rack is full it will look something like this:
And if you have other flowers in your garden that dry well, you can hang dry them in the same fashion. 
Once your bundles are dry you can make sachet or use them "as is" in a vase. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

How To Harvest Lavender

Once you have decided what you are going to use your lavender for, it is time to harvest.
This Grosso I planted July 12, 2010.  To see him as a "Baby" click HERE.
I have decided to make wreaths with this bush. So I want the bloom to be full and bloomed to the tip like this:
#1 - Harvest in the morning when the lavender is not wet from the sprinklers.

#2 - Tools: you will need clippers, a  basket, a knee pad and some rubber bands.
 #3 - Start by cutting little bunches.
 Grab a little section and cut. 
I like to cut just above the foliage.
Here I am cutting around the base of the bush.
#4 - Group your little bunches.
You will notice that the lavender stems may curve upward around the base of the bush and the stems growing from the top of the plant are straighter.  I group the curved with the curved and the straight with the straight.
 #5 - Make your bundles.
You can make your bundles as you cut them. If I do this I call it a
"Field Bundle".  

The bundle is sort of messy and a few of the blossoms are down in the stems.
~ OR ~
You can arrange it just a little.
Pulling the blooms up out the the stem area and making the back a little higher than the front give you a beautiful bundle. 
#6 - Band Your Bundle
Take your bundle and clean up the ends with your clippers.
I like mine to be even and trimmed.
Loop the rubber band around the base of the bundle.  You want this to be tight so none of the stems can fall out.
This little plant gave me 4.13 bundles.
This is a "Green Turtle Mound" as I like to describe it.
Ta Da!  From plant to wreath in one morning.
If you are wanting to hang your bundle to dry CLICK HERE for further instruction.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Lavender is blooming, Now what?

For many in the area your lavender are blooming or in full bloom.  We always get the question, "When do you cut your lavender?".  My answer is always the same, "It depends on what we are using it for." And like clock work the next question always is, "What do you use lavender for?"
A good rule of thumb is, what ever you are cutting it for, cut in the morning when the air is cool and the lavender is not wet from the sprinklers. 
Hidcote in full bloom, ready for wreaths.
You can: #1 Add color to your garden -
Some people plant lavender just for it's color.  The color and bloom lasts quite a while adding depth and charm to your garden.  If this sounds like you...then let it bloom and don't hedge til fall.
Color in our garden.
A splash of purple at the base of this pine in our friend Debbie's garden.
Grosso, Spanish Lavender, Echinacea and Autumn Seedum.
 You Can: #2 Make dried bundles -
We sell our dried bundles (as long as we still have them) throughout the season.  If you are wanting these to decorate with you will need to harvest your lavender when the blossoms are blooming at the base of the spike.  If you wait til the entire spike is bloomed out, then the lavender shatters easier, once dried. So for a cleaner, easier to work with bundle, cut BEFORE the spike blooms to the tip (in the morning hours).
Fresh cut bundles ready to hang and dry.
Dried bundle in a vase as a table decoration.
 You Can: #3 Make a wreath -
When making wreaths I want something to work with.  If you cut your lavender too soon, the stems are wimpy and the spikes skinny.  I like to cut the lavender used in wreaths when the blooms are blooming at the base of the spike. If you wait til the blossoms are blooming, then the stem is stronger and the spike fatter. If you are wanting your wreath to have that deep purple color then you need to cut before the sun bleaches out the spikes, the longer they are on the stem the less color they will have once dried. 
Thank you Dennis!  This English lavender is from one of our wonderful friend's yard.  I am not sure the exact variety, but I know it was brought straight from England.

  You Can: #4 Make sachet -
If you have been enjoying your lavender for a few weeks and it has bloomed to the tip of the spike, don't worry you can still use your lavender.  All you need to do is harvest it, bundle it with a rubber band and let it dry.  To make sachet you will need to defoliate your dried bouquets.  To defoliate wear gloves and hold your bouquet upside down over a bowl and roll it between your hands. To clean the buds you have collected in your bowl by picking out the large stems and leaves and then sifting over a screen.  Once clean you are ready to craft, create or cook with your lavender. Just know the earlier you harvest, the cleaner and more colorful your sachet will be. 
Our Fragrance Bags and Dryer Bags are filled with clean sachet.
You Can: #5 Cook with lavender -
There are many different varieties of lavender.  They all smell different and they all taste different.  Once you have a lavender plant in your garden you can start experimenting with recipes.  You can use it fresh as a garnish or you can use is dried, ground up as an herb.  Just be cautious when spraying for bugs or fertilizing that you don't get near your lavender, you don't want to be ingesting your insecticides. 
To use FRESH: Pick before the spike blooms to the tip. You don't want dried blossoms (which look like a dead bug) garnishing your dessert or drink.
To use DRIED: Pick before the spike blooms to the tip and then hang to dry. Picking before it is bloomed out gives you cleaner more colorful cooking sachet. Dried lavender is twice as potent.  All you need is just a pinch. 
To see some of our recipes and creations click our "Recipes Page"

And because Debbie's garden was FULL of color, here are more pictures for you to enjoy.

Happy Gardening!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Sign That Your Lavender Needs Water

Our lavender stems are longer, they are showing a little color and the days are getting hotter.  Lavender is a drought tolerant perennial, but sometimes on the really hot days it needs a drink.  Watering in the morning is best, but if its mid day and you see one of your plants drooping like this...
Please, give it a drink.  After a while it will perk right up.  Notice what the temperature is when your lavender starts to droop.  If you know it is going to get that hot again, water that morning and save your lavender from heat exhaustion.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lavender Ice Cream - by the scoop

If you are wanting some of THIS
Lavender Lemon White Chocolate Chip
 (it's the scoop on the lower right)
Stop in at Trudy's Poppin' Johnny Ice Cream on the corner of 25th & Washington.  Tomorrow, Saturday July 16th During the Farmer's Market (8-1).  It will be her "Seasonal Favorite" for the day. She makes all of our lavender ice cream on her tractor.  And until I get my freezer working this is the only place to get this rich, creamy, lemony, lavendery, white chocolate chip filled goodness.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

KUTV - Fresh Living - Lavender Hill

I had my first TV experience. 
KUTV Channel 2 News has a segment called "Fresh Living".  The segments touch on everything from beauty and fashion to healthy living and eating. Over the past few weeks they have interviewed a couple vendors from the Salt Lake City Farmer's Market, and lucky for us Lavender Hill was one of the chosen vendors. 
We had to film in the studio's kitchen because it was raining outside.

I think the hardest part of the entire morning was finding parking.  We were downtown near the Gallivan Center. The KUTV news room is in the bottom of the Wells Fargo Building.  Let's just say it was a good thing we left early to allow time to get lost. 
It was great to work with all of the crew and to meet Casey and Debbie.