Green Pastures AgriVillages: Specialty Crop - Lavender

Green Pastures AgriVillages holds benevolent intentionality surrounding the decision to incorporate lavender as a specialty crop.

Lavender is a small, aromatic shrub used in the fragrance, specialty food, and alter-native medicine industries. Although family farmers may find large-scale extraction of lavender’s valuable oil too expensive and laborious, small-scale lavender production is feasible for some farmers using alternative marketing strategies. Entertainment farming has been a very successful form of alternative marketing for lavender, especially as a focus for annual festivals and product sales.

Like most herbs, lavender has few if any insect pests. Few fungal diseases attack lavender, but since there are no known remedies for them, chemical applications are not an issue. Lavender ranks high as a sustainable crop because it does not rely on pesticides and fertilizers. It does not require fertilizing, although in rare circumstances irrigation may be called for. The biggest issue is finding a viable marketing method.

“Lavandula angustifolia (lavender most commonly true lavender or English lavender, though not native to England; also garden lavender,common lavender, narrow-leaved lavender), formerly L. officinalis, is a flowering الو plants in the familyLamiaceae, native to the Mediterranean (Spain, France, Italy, Croatia etc.).

Growth

Flower spike before the petals emergeCalyx (purple) and flower bracts (light brown)Calyx and corollaCorolla (petals)Calyx and corolla

It is a strongly aromatic shrub growing as high as 1 to 2 metres (3.3 to 6.6 ft) tall. The leaves are evergreen, 2–6 centimetres (0.79–2.36 in) long, and 4–6 millimetres (0.16–0.24 in) broad. The flowers are pinkish-purple (lavender-coloured), produced on spikes 2–8 cm (0.79–3.15 in) long at the top of slender, leafless stems 10–30 cm (3.9–11.8 in) long.

Etymology

The species name angustifolia is Latin for "narrow leaf". Previously, it was known as Lavandula officinalis, referring to its medicinal properties.

Cultivation

English lavender is commonly grown as an ornamental plant. It is popular for its colourful flowers, its fragrance, and its ability to survive with low water consumption. It does not grow well in continuously damp soil and may benefit from increased drainage provided by inorganic mulches such as gravel. It does best in Mediterranean climates similar to its native habitat, characterised by wet winters and dry summers. It is fairly tolerant of low temperatures and is generally considered hardy to USDAzone 5.It tolerates acid soils but favours neutral to alkaline soils, and in some conditions it may be short-lived.” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavandula_angustifolia)