Spring sure didn't hang around long! The heat is here already and seems like it has settled in to stay for awhile. Of course, this is the busiest time of year for us here, so it is delightful to have it super hot for planting, weeding and landscaping! <eyeroll> All complaining aside though, we have been very busy and it is a great problem to have!
Our original half acre of plants came out of the winter in great shape this year. They have sent up their shoots and have tons of buds. In the next week or so we should have a full field of purple. I can't wait! We planted a little over 500 plants in May, some that we started from cuttings and grew all winter, and others we purchased from a greenhouse in KS. We have planted new Hidcote, Munstead, Royal Velvet and Betty's Blue this year, along with the Melissa we cloned. We made some changes in our planting procedure, based on previous years mistakes. At least we are learning from our mistakes, right?
We are now mixing limestone gravel, horse manure and dirt together. Jerry then plowed furrows and filled them with the mixture to create a slight mound. The thought is that this creates an underground drain tile type situation, so the roots don't have to fight so hard to get through the clay, and it is draining better. Also, after spending about a million hours weeding the past 2 summers, we decided to lay weed guard down before planting these new plants. Because: We. Hate. Weeding. Jerry built himself a "branding iron" in the shape of a circle. He took this along the rows once the weed guard was staked down, and with a propane torch heated up the iron and burned holes in the weed guard for the plants. This process is SO much easier than what we did when we started in 2018! The plants go in like a dream, there is no struggle to keep the mounds high, and everything is perfectly spaced. Funny how simple it seems when you've tried all the wrong ways first!
Our field started budding about a week ago, and we started farm tours that same week. The first day was a great success, and it was so nice to have people at our place, enjoying the outdoors with their families again. 2020 was not a great year, but I think it's made us all appreciate some things that we took for granted before. So we have healthy lavender plants with lots and lots of buds right now and we have set up spots for two pollinator gardens.
We only had enough plants to start one of the pollinator gardens this year. We planted all kinds of plants that bees, butterflies, and all kinds of bugs love. The dream is to put a butterfly house next to this garden in the future. (If only money grew on lavender plants, LOL).
In other farm news, Biscuit and Gravy are as sweet and naughty as ever. They have learned how to open the gate that keeps them out of the kitchen at night, and have been helping themselves to goodies after we go to bed. The night before our first tour they ate half a dozen lavender-fudge brownies!! I don't know how they do that and don't get sick, but apparently they have stomachs of steel!!
Our two kitties, Amara and Castiel are doing great. They are definitely siblings, they fight and wrestle until they are worn out and then cuddle up to sleep.
For Mother's Day, my daughters Amanda and Nicole gave me some new chicks. I have 3 baby Jersey Giants in the barn, and they are growing like crazy. I can't wait to see them towering over the rest of my flock when they are adults!
We are back at the Farmer's Markets in Lincoln on Sundays and Thursdays this summer, and have done a couple of great shows. We had a really good time at Junkstock in Waterloo this Spring. Almost all of the same vendors were in our barn as last time, so that was a lot of fun.
We plan on having a fantastic summer with a lot more days of the shop here at the farm being open. After the tours are over we'll be spending lots of time with family and friends, because really, that's what it's all for. I hope you all get out and enjoy the weather and being with people again this year. Do the things you always wanted to do, because you never know how long you will be able to do them!
Thank you for reading my little blog.
Enjoy the summer and be sweet to each other!