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1.6.18

5 Tips For Taking Care Of A Lavender Plant + Life Update



Hi Loves!

It's a rainy day here in central Indiana. A few storms decided to pop up over the last few days and gave us a nice watering for the first time in over a week. I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to get on here and just talk about life, how well my lavender plant is thriving and what are some different things I've done this time around from the way I took care of them in the past.

So far things have been going well. Not great, but well. Struggling with anxiety and bipolar has made my work struggle a bit as well. For a while, I had suspended my trips to my therapist. I thought that I was all better for a while but my illness came back to bite me in the butt and reminded me that bipolar will always be a part of me. I will always have ups and downs. But I've started going back to my therapist and my husband and I are planning to visit a local support group at some point. I think that, if you feel alone in your illness, it is a good idea to seek a support group. It's not a bad thing, quite the opposite. Having a community of people who share a similar struggle to yourself can make all the difference, or at least make you feel less alone. If that is something that you are interested in, go to the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) website and they will help you find a support group.

Otherwise, I am working really hard to bring y'all some good content. I've decided to revisit my YouTube and I'm going to start working on putting up videos for you to watch. Some of you might remember that, way back in the day, I did a lot of beauty and makeup videos. My interest in makeup is as strong as it used to be but the price of makeup being what it is will mean that those sorts of videos probably won't be my mainstay for a while. You might see the occasional fashion video, showing my TJ Maxx and Marshall's hauls, but I'm planning on mostly doing DIY's and recipe related content and see how it goes from there.

Don't get too excited, it might be a while until I get some videos made, but I think that is my next step, content-wise. If you all have any ideas, please, help a sister out!

Our garden is growing beautifully! My husband had some extra space in the raised beds and a few empty flower pots so we went nuts and filled everything with dirt and seeds. So far, we are looking at: lavender, rosemary, basil, chicago figs, sunflowers, Meyer lemons, Sugar Baby watermelons, cucumbers, Scarlet Runner beans, Red/Yellow/Green bell peppers, Jalapeno peppers, Purple Cherokee tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, Pinto beans and spring onions. We've also got my spruce tree, marigolds, juniper (which I am fighting to keep alive) and my husband decided to plant a wildflower mix to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to help pollinate our plants.

We have a serious chipmunk problem when it comes to our garden, so we planted almost all of the seeds that we had to make sure that something would grow despite the chipmunks digging everything up. As a result, many of our plants were growing and competing for space. It hurt but we thinned out some of the plants, especially the beans and tomatoes, now that they are getting good, thick roots and stems. In the past, we have let everything grow and some of the plants eventually choked themselves out and resulted in a very small harvest. Except for cherry tomatoes. Those buttheads not only grow like weeds, but they grow about 50 plants the next spring wherever a little tomato fell into the dirt. If you are lazy, like we were at first, then you would have hundreds or thousands of volunteer plants popping up in the dirt as soon as it got warm out.

I'm going to use the garden subject as my segue into talking about lavender plants. I have tried growing lavender in a pot on our patio for the last almost 4 years. Every year, I would buy a lavender plant from Lowe's or some other place that sells live plants, stick it in the fresh potting soil in this beautiful blue clay pot and I would almost watch it quickly start to die. This year, I did a little more studying up to make sure my lavender flourished. And so far, the research has paid off. I'm going to share a few tips that I have learned that have kept my lavender looking and smelling amazing!

Tip #1 - Excessive watering will kill most plants, especially lavender.

Lavender originates from the Mediterranean, an area that is fairly arid. As such, lavender thrives with little water, about once or twice a week at most.

Tip #2 - Lavender needs good drainage.

Along with limited watering, lavender doesn't like to sit in moisture. Even in humid places, lavender cave thrive, as long as there is good drainage. If you plant it in a pot, make sure that there is a large enough hole in the bottom to facilitate drainage. I actually like to mix a third of the pot's volume's worth of sand into the potting soil. If you plant in the ground, make sure that it sits on a decent mound and that the soil is loose with plenty of organic matter to encourage drainage. You could add some sand in this case as well, if you choose, or even some gravel at the bottom of the pit you plant in.

Tip #3 - Easy on the fertilizer.

Lavender thrives in poorly fertilized soils. If you think you have extra poor soil, then just go with a good compost or a very small amount of a complete fertilizer. Too much fertilizer could force the plant to grow a bunch of foliage and no flowers. I'm pretty sure the thing we love about lavender, besides its beautiful scent, is the sweet little purple flower buds.

Tip #4 - Place  the lavender where it can get full sun exposure.

Lavender plants need a lot of sunlight. At least 6+ hours a day in full sun is best. If you are growing lavender inside, place it on a south facing window or door or wherever you get the most sun in your home.

Tip #5 - Mulch carefully.

If you use a mulch, use just enough to prevent weeds. Make sure you keep the mulch away from the crown of the plant as well. Too much mulch could hold on to more water than the plant needs.

Bonus Tip - Prune in Spring.

When you see the flowers blooming on the green shoots coming up from the base of the plant, prune back the upper third of the plant. This prevents the plant from becoming too "woody" and will help extend the life of the plant. Not to mention the green-gray shoots and the flowers are what make this semi-shrub so visually appealing.

I thought about harvesting the buds for cooking but I thought better of it since my lavender plant is fairly young. I want to let it grow and get established over the course of the next few years before cutting into it for more than is necessary for pruning.

Extra Bonus Unofficial Tip - If you plan to cook with your lavender, you can do so with any variety, but the Munstead variety is supposed to be the best because it has a sweeter aroma and mildly citrusy flavor. I love adding lavender to lemonade and to my tea when I'm searching for a nice cup of calm.

 On that note, I think I'm going to go ahead and wrap this up. I hope you enjoyed my little informational post on lavender and my life. As I said before, if you have any suggestions for posts and future video ideas, please share. If you liked this post, please leave a comment and share with your friends. Have a wonderful day!
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