It’s one of the most picturesque sites you can ever imagine seeing. The calming aroma, the beautiful purple lavender flowers and the expanse of the fields are the intriguing elements that make lavender fields amazing. The crops are arranged in rows to allow for mechanization during harvesting. Harvesting is done in blocks i.e. different sections mature at different times of the year. This allows the farmers to harvest all year round. Once a section is harvested, it looks green and the rows becomes visible. This again makes the view more captivating.
The crops do well in Mediterranean conditions. They are resistant to drought but require well drained soils. Spacing is done according to the expected growth of the plant. Growth is determined by the species cultivated. There are three species that are commonly cultivated, namely English, Lavin din and French lavenders.
The purpose for which the crop is to be used determines when harvesting is done. There are over 50 uses of lavender. Some of the uses include calming tea made from dry lavender, lavender talc, scented candles and lavender sachets. The owner/ customers may want the crops when wet, dry or just the essential oils. For fresh lavenders harvesting is done when almost all the plants have blossomed while for dry lavenders harvesting starts when they just start to blossom. However, care should be taken to ensure the flowers don’t drop off before harvesting. For oils, the crops are harvested when the flowers start withering. This is the time when there is a maximum accumulation of the oils. Harvesting is done using a multi- purpose tractor that moves along the rows cutting and placing the harvest in another tractor.
Lavender is one of the few crops that guarantees almost 100% benefit to the farmers who grow them. Apart from being a source of income, they provide a serene environment that is difficult to find in any other place. It’s where one gets to think and solve some troubling problems in life while enjoying the aroma and comfort of nature. That’s why my next trip will be to one of these big lavender plantations.