Growing Lavender For Profit
Starting a Lavender Farm
When you fall in love with Lavender it is easy to imagine starting you own Lavender farm. Growing Lavender for profit sounds nice. The Lavender plant is easy to grow, doesn't require a lot of fussy care, is drought tolerant what more could you ask for in a crop? Or is it?
Start multiplying your Lavender into hundreds and there are some important things to consider before beginning on this endeavor of growing Lavender commercially. See discussion below.
Which Lavender Variety Will You Grow?
Lavender plants grow in most regions but some may grow better than others for a particular region. Do you have freezing temperatures, periods of heavy rain, or maybe a short growing season? What setbacks can you anticipate for your growing region? Ask this question first before you begin starting your farm lessening the impact later for sudden surprises.
Research is key and planning ahead is better. Talk to other Lavender farms in your State. What have they learned that can help you now? Which varieties of Lavender have been most successful or productive? What Lavender plant growing tips can they give you before you get started? What would they have done differently when starting the farm?
To Mulch or Not to Mulch?
Lavender does not like competition from other plants especially when they are small little starts. Weeds will quickly spring up between rows and between plants overtaking your Lavender, robbing nutrients from the soil and competing for water. The answer is mulch and there are different ways to solve this problem.
Planting grass between rows and then regularly mowing it is one solution. Spreading gravel, rock, sand or other mulch is another. Many Lavender farms choose to lay a heavy black weed barrier mulch between rows and around plants which greatly reduces weeds although you always will have to pull a few.
White gravel, rocks or sand will reflect light and heat up around the base of your plants which helps to keep them dry preventing a fungal infection from taking out your entire field. Yes that does happen and some Lavender farms have had a loss or two before getting the mix right. Periods of rain can start the process going no matter how well you prepare. So which will you choose?
How Will You Layout Your Fields?
Different Lavender plants require different spacing between rows and between each plant in the row. How will you orient your rows, how many plants or stock will you need to grow a Lavender field. How will you obtain these plants both now and in the future when you may need to replace a few Lavender plants due to loss. Most Lavender farms use bulk plugs, start their own plants from cuttings or by buying select Lavender seed after their first initial purchase of Lavender plant stock. How will you start the Lavender farm?
How Will You Water Your Lavender Fields?
Even though Lavender is drought tolerant it still needs water to survive. Watering from above will cause "splitting" of the plants will means they split open not keeping the nice tight bush form which is conducive to flower production and plant longevity.
Most commercial Lavender growers choose drip lines that turn on and off at short intervals keeping water only at the roots where it needs to be. This also is helpful by keeping the rest of the plant dry lessening fungal infection before it can start.
The Great Labor Question?
Who will work the fields? If you are a husband and wife team this question can cause just a little bit of trouble. If you intend to hire all the work out, and believe me no matter what type of farm you have there is work, you will cut into or offset your profits. Starting a farm is never easy and it takes a time for plants to mature before you start to see a profit.
A small Lavender farm usually are managed by a handful of people, owners included, in order to turn a decent profit. Who will do the manual labor and how will the division of labor fall. If you love the work it won't be work but play for you. Are you that passionate about growing Lavender and lots of it.
These are just a few questions to ponder over before you start a Lavender Farm of your own and growing Lavender for profit.