Thursday, June 11, 2015

Gardening Is Hard Work!

My muscles are aching.  My head is hurting.  My sunburned skin is sizzling. Yesterday, I spent around 6.5 hours outside in 90-95 Fahrenheit (30-32 Celsius) heat preparing beds and planting lavender.  My husband spent the same amount of time tilling soil and teaching me how to properly garden.  At the end of the day, I was exhausted, cranky, and I suppose a little bit proud of my hot day in the garden.  I have never appreciated farmers as much as I did last night!

Chris had already tilled three rows, and early on he tilled a couple more.  We have had an inordinate amount of rain lately, so the tilling was quite a task.  My job was to go through and turn the soil where we were planning on planting lavender.  I also needed to add lime to the soil because its pH was between 5 and 6.  Lavender likes more alkaline soil, with a pH of between 7 and 8.  Lime helps make the soil less acidic.  I hope it will help.

Chris ordered lots of lavender several weeks ago, but our rows weren't ready then.  So he planted them in our garden for the time being.  One of my other jobs yesterday was to transplant the lavender from our garden to the rows.  Chris had to show me how to do that because I wasn't saving enough dirt from the garden around the roots.

We planted three rows of Phenomenal lavender (Lavandula x intermedia).  It is a newer variety that promises to withstand extreme cold and extreme heat and humidity.  Both of those weather traits are common here in the Midwest.  We lost several lavender plants last year because of extremely cold temperatures in the winter of 2013-2014, and I would like to not repeat that if I can help it.

By the end of the day, shadows from our two maple trees were cast upon our lavender field.  Chris had managed to till eight rows and together, we managed to plant four of them.  The first three are Phenomenal.  The next three will be Grosso, and the three after that will be Provence.  Phenomal, Grosso, and Provence are hybrid lavenders, known as lavandins or x intermedias.  They are are cross between Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia.  I plan on doing another blog post entry on lavender at a later date.  Check back for it!

All in all, yesterday was a very productive day.  Today, however, we are getting a slow start.  I guess it's my aching bones.  We are planning to make 20 rows total to accommodate all the types of lavenders we are planning to have.  The hotter it gets, the less likely we are to see 20 rows before the end of the summer.  Ideally, we would have done this in early Spring.  But who wants to be ideal anyway?  If we have to, we will wait until Fall to get everything planted.  That would  certainly be better than having a heat stroke now!

Have a great day.  Stay cool and think lavender thoughts...





Who knows?  Maybe someday our fields will look like this!  :)

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