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Cultivation of Lavender

Site: Lavender needs a sunny, well drained site to discourage fungus disease.

Propagation: Sow fresh seed in late summer and autumn or buy pots of rooted cuttings. Cuttings from strong new growth can be propagated in summer or autumn or from seeds sown indoors in trays. Once rooted, plant them in a well drained, poor soil about 1 foot apart. Foliage will yellow in poorly drained soil.

Growing: Thin or transplant plants to 18 inches - 2 feet apart, or 12 inches apart for hedges. Depending on the variety (of which there are many) lavender grows 10 inches to 3 feet. Choose the type that best suits the space you are planting in. For hedges, choose the dwarf variety. Prune the shrub in fall after flowering or in early spring, but do not cut back into the old wood. They eventually become gangly, so you will need to replant once every 5 years.

Harvesting: Gather flowering stems just as flowers open. Pick leaves anytime.

Culinary Uses: Fresh lavender flowers can be used to flavor syrup for jellies. Mix 6 flower heads into each pint of apple jelly syrup. Remove the lavender before bottling. It is also used to flavor fruit salad and milk and cream for deserts. Flowers be candied to decorate cakes and puddings. Use lavender instead of rosemary when cooking chicken, flavoring vinegar and making fragrant stews. As a side usage, lavender is wonderful in potpourri.


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