Drying Lavender

Well it is back to work after all the excitement of Bilbo visiting, he is now on his way to matron of Down on the allotment blog, if you want to follow his adventures in London.I took my package to our local post office early on Saturday morning only to be told we in the Republic no longer have postal collections on Saturday! What a retrograde step in the middle of a recession when we should be encouraging business to our country.This and our sad record of rolling out broadband country wide puts us in the league of banana republics!
Our allotment harvest is getting colourful at this time of year, some of our chiogga beetroot,more courgettes, cauliflower,potatoes, the girls pulled all of their onions to take home, and bunches of lavender.
Potato Blight we thought we had escaped it but no,it struck within 2 days!The British Queens looked Ok....so far, but our late main crop of Golden Wonders were blackened. I did not have the camera with me that day to photograph them. I sprayed all of them again but I will have to cut down the stalks of any affected ones to try to save the potatoes underneath.All of the plots had blight in varying stages,some had escaped so we will have to compare notes to see which ones did not succumb
I tie the bunches with rubber bands as they contract as they are drying and fall out of string ties, a lesson learned last year.
I slipped the rubber bands over the hook of a clothes hanger, one with pegs for skirts is ideal.
I pegged a pillow case over the bunches and they are now hanging in my wardrobe to dry.For a couple of weeks my clothes will have a lovely lavender scent while it is drying out.The lavender falls down into the pillow case and then just roll the case around with your hands and any remaining lavender comes off easily.
These are new plants so I have not as much as last year but I will make some sachets to put in drawers or make gifts with.


mangocheeks said…
Amongst your harvest, I spy with my little envious eyes, your pretty cauliflower. It looks marvellous!
Thanks for posting this. I was just wondering what to do with all my lavender not too long ago- I hope I'm not too late!
Ann said…
I came across your blog as I have a Google alert for lavender. I have a lavender farm here in New Zealand. I am of mostly Irish ancestry - interesting to know you still are dealing with potato blight. Allotments are such a wonderful idea for folk without room for vegies in their own back yard. Google square foot gardening and you will see how many vegies you can grow in a very confined space. Lavender - the best time to pick it for drying to get the best aroma and colour is when there is only about a third of the flowers open. Yes, as you found out the hard way, for lavender wands you must do them straight away. One year I folded some stems while fresh and then threaded the ribbon when I had time - that worked too. Dried lavender in soap looks like mouse droppings!! If ever you want to have a go at soap making I suggest you try melt and pour soap in which you use the essential oil. I'm bookmarking your page to watch progress. best regards Ann from New Zealand www.lavenderbeds.co.nz
Peggy said…
mangocheeks,this is the first year we have had great cauliflowers but I only put in 8 plants of which 7 have now been eaten and enjoyed. I would love to be able to space them out to say 2 a week for about 3 or 4 months.
Tessa,I am probably too late too but for personal use it is OK.
Ann, thank you for dropping by, I have visited your website and your lavender farm looks fantastic!Thank you too for sharing the advice,some lavender growers charge for it!You obviousley read back over last years lavender posts too.
Linda said…
Great tips Peggy. I've just received 5 lavender plants in the post (an end of season special offer). They're now potted on and drowning in the overnight torrential rain we've had - still going on as I write. If they ever make it through the winter I'll look back to your post next summer when I harvest the flower.
Dirt Princess said…
Lavender is my favorite smell ever! We can't grow it here!!! If we could, I would have no grass, I would just grow lavender instead! I love how you use the pillowcase to catch the excess...very smart lady!
Anonymous said…
I feel for you braving a blog change. That can make you pull your hair out. I can smell your lavender and it's all good. I bought some bunches at the little lavender farm I visited awhile back.

I've got to go take a picture of something I'm growing. It's big and was suppose to be sunflowers but now I think it's a weed. I wish it was lavender. But...it drowned out my lavender that was growing close by.
Ann said…
Note for Linda - the one thing lavender does not like is wet feet - if your pots with the lavender in are really getting drowned I'd advise you to move them out of the rain!! Make sure you keep them in the sun (when it comes out again!!)because even dappled shade will stunt them and make them grow very leggy.
Matron said…
It amazes me that gardeners everywhere seem to be doing the same things at the same time according to the seasons. Whether it is making green tomato chutney, suffering potato blight or drying lavender! I picked my lavender this week. I think I will make a lavender pillow to help me sleep a little better! Although when I have to take Bilbo around London I might not have trouble sleeping that night!

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