Open post
how to distil lavender oil

How to distil Lavender Oil

Today I’m going to distil lavender oil. Last year I followed a lavender oil distillation workshop in the Netherlands. Since then I’ve made orange oil from organic orange peels, mint oil and oregano oil. But no lavender oil yet.

lavender harvest
lavender harvest in the Alpujarras

My own lavender harvest is not yet big enough, but fortunately I still have the harvest of a friend I was allowed to pick in August. In total I have about 2,5 kilos of dried flowers that I can use to distil lavender oil.

The yield exceeded all expectations.

I don’t want to use it all, but that’s no problem because they don’t fit all in my distillery. I have a little one of 12 litres. The idea is to press the plant material firmly into the pan.

how to distil lavender oil
My 12 litres distiller

With a double elevation in the pan – to make the contents even smaller – 680 grams of lavender flowers went in with difficulty. That was much less than I thought. But the yield exceeded all expectations.

I thought it was a lavandin and that is clear from the yield of 7.1% oil.

Essential oil makers handbook

In the essential oil makers handbook of Bettina Malle and Helge Schminckl I read that flowers of lavandula angustfolia have a yield of 2.5 to 3% and lavandin 3 to 5%. The 7.1 is therefore excessively high.

Except for 48,7 grams of lavender oil the 680 grams of dried lavender flowers yielded me about 1,5 liters of hydrolate. About the quality of the oil I can only say that it smells very good. At a later moment I will analyze the harvest of my own lavender. For now the oil is enough to make my own soap and bath salts.

how to distil lavender oil
neary 50 grams of lavender oil and 1,5 liters of hydrolate out of 680 grams of dried flowers

How do you distil lavender oil?

  1. At the bottom of the distillation kettle a sort of sieve is used to separate the plant material from the water. The steam from the boiling water pushes up through the sieve and the plant material, taking the oil from the flowers with it.
  2. Fill the pan with water until just below the sieve. The plant material should not be in the water.
  3. Fill the pan from sieve to lid with lavender flowers, very firmly pressed.
  4. Close the kettle and connect the hoses for cooling.
  5. While the kettle is warming up, keep an eye on the cooling. The cooling water should be lukewarm, but not too hot. I still have to find a way to cool the cooling water without losing water. Now I need to get rid of hot water and add cold water. I need to be able to do this more efficiently.
  6. As soon as the temperature at the top of the kettle rises to about 97 degrees Celsius, hydrolate with oil runs out of the kettle. I prepare a row of well cleaned bottles or glasses and you can clearly see that the first amount contains the most oil. The oil is in a yellow layer on top of the hydrolate.
  7. After about an hour my bottles were gone and I quit. Henk Ploeger of In de koperen ketel says you can go on for two hours, but I was a bit afraid that the water in the kettle was running out. (The amount of water I put in I have to measure the next time.) That fear turned out to be unfounded, there was still enough water in it. But I ran out of bottles and I thought I could smell that the smell of the hydrolate was getting less. So still a good time to stop.
  8. One by one I have put the content of the bottles in the Byzantine vase to separate the oil from the hydrolatum. The oil floats on top of the hydrolate which you can clearly see in this picture.
Byzantine vase to separate the oil from the hydrolatum
Byzantine vase to separate the oil from the hydrolatum

Workshops distilling in Gilze, the Netherlands

Open post
cleaning sheeps wool

Cleaning sheep’s wool that no one wants

Sheep’s wool is a beautiful material, but unfortunately scores poorly on animal friendliness and environment. Just about the only thing you can say positively about the environmental impact is that it doesn’t contain any plastics. Against this background, it’s pretty crazy that the shepherd in my neighbourhood can’t get rid of his wool. He has a shed full of it and nobody wants it.

The waste of wool less than a kilometre away wouldn’t let go of me.

Cleaning sheep’s wool costs a lot of soap and water. And the use of chemicals is also enormous. And the sheep emit methane, a strong greenhouse gas. In addition, most of the sheep’s wool comes from Australia. These are quite a few kilometres of transport from Europe. The waste of wool less than a kilometre away wouldn’t let go of me.

Cleaning sheep’s wool is a big challenge

Two years ago the shepherd gave me a big bag of wool, so I could see if I could use it. Cleaning the sheep’s wool was no fun. It took an awful lot of soap and water, it literally smelled like an hour in the wind. The quality of the wool didn’t seem bad, but cleaning the sheep’s wool in an environmentally friendly way turned out to be a big challenge.

I put the big bag of dirty wool on my land and every now and then I came up with a new idea, which didn’t work. And suddenly the solution was there by itself. With time, the plants even grew a bit through it, the stench had disappeared. And it didn’t feel greasy any more and reasonably clean.

After a test I was still able to felt with it. And after one washing it was relatively clean. I found it interesting enough to ask the shepherd for a few more bags of wool, which he gave me with great pleasure.

Hot water from the sun

Cleaning sheep's wool on my land: let time do the first work
Cleaning sheep’s wool on my land: let time do the first work

The new wool I spread on the land between a folded piece of chicken wire, from the ground away from leaves en twigs. Waiting for the time to do its work again. Plus hot water. When irrigating plants on the land, the black irrigation hoses are usually first filled with hot water from the sun. That water is too hot for the plants, but now very useful. I use it to rinse the wool for a short period of time. The sun dries the wool again. Five weeks and a few short rinses later the wool doesn’t feel so greasy any more and doesn’t smell so strong.

Homemade woolpicker for cleaning

Cleaning sheep's wool with a handmade woolpicker
handmade wool picker made out of an old cabinet drawer

Today I put some of this wool through my homemade woolpicker. Just after 5 weeks washing it two times seems to be enough. Soon carding and felting. And see if this is the solution to clean the wool without a lot of soap or water.

A small other experiment is if the sheep poop that come along with the water do the bamboo next to it well, because they can use some manure. And whether the bindweed under the wool still likes it so much with manure and hot water.

Somewhere I read that the invasive bindweed is doing very well on poor soils and that fertilizing would be a solution. See my post about getting rid of invasive bindweed. A test, free of charge and for nothing. I keep on rinsing the rest of the wool, hoping that the wool will be sufficiently clean with one soap washing and the mechanical cleaning with woolpicker. More about that later.

Open post
making your own lavender soap

Making your own lavender soap with olive oil

Today I made real lavender soap. Making your own lavender soap is not difficult, but something can go wrong. As I wrote yesterday. The problem was mainly in the right temperature and the NaOH, which didn’t get warm, so it wasn’t good anymore.

The recipe is the same as yesterday, but with less water. A tip from the website thenerdyfarmwife.com if you don’t use palm oil.

The recipe to make your own lavender soap is made in this soap calculator

  • 276 grams of olive oil
  • 184 grams coconut oil
  • 67,55 grams NaOH (sodium lye)
  • 151.8 grams of water (lavender hydrolate, tap water or distilled water) 33% instead of 38%
  • 10.5 grams of essential lavender oil, this should be 13.8 grams. But I don’t have that much at my disposal today. Soon I will be distilling lavender.
  • Dried lavender

I have the pan au bain Marie set up with the olive oil and coconut oil and heated to about 54 degrees. About the same time I added NaOH to the water. Stir well until everything is dissolved. Note: in a sturdy plastic container or in heat-resistant glass. Then the heat doesn’t disappear and the material won’t be affected. The first time I made soap, a few years ago, I used a wooden stirring spoon, which I could then throw away. Now I stir with an ordinary spoon and that goes well.

Making your own lavender soap is an accurate job

Now we have to wait until the temperature of the sodium caustic soda drops back to about 54 degrees Celsius. While the temperature of the oil mass rises to about 54 degrees. I have already mixed the oil a bit. If both are about 54 degrees, you can carefully add the lye to the oil. And then mix it.

trace in making your own soap
I think this is a real trace

Yesterday nothing happened after 45 minutes. And now the ‘trace’ was already visible after 10 minutes. That means you can draw a line in the mass. Then you can add the lavender oil and mix briefly. Then pour the mixture into the moulds. A clean and cut-up pack of soy milk will do just fine and there was enough left over to fill three silicone soap moulds.

I smoothed out the mass in the moulds, which looks the most like a thick vanilla lettuce with a spatula and added the dried lavender flowers. A lovely smelling and beautiful blue colored lavandin called Heavenly scent.

making your own lavender soap
A clean and cut-up pack of soy milk will do just fine

Sodium lye that doesn’t sound very nice in a natural soap

The NaOH with water or sodium lye is necessary for the saponification, without which it will not succeed. Fortunately, the substance will disappear from the soap by itself, at least if you do it right. NaOH is a natural product, but during processing it can burn a hole in your skin. So be carefull. If the saponification goes well and you let the soap dry long enough, I keep it for at least 6 weeks, all NaOH will have been disappeared from the soap.

How to make sodium lye safely?

Weigh the right amount of cold water and put it in a sturdy container. Then add the right amount of NaOH to the water. Never the other way around. Work with safety goggles, gloves and a face mask. And make sure that nothing can fall over during the process. So work with sturdy pots and pans and a clean countertop. The sosa, as they call it here in Spain the NaOH, got quite hot today. The temperature rose to over 70 degrees after it was added to the water and stirred.

By mixing at the right temperature, the saponification should start relatively quickly, now after 10 minutes. The ‘soap’ from yesterday of which I suspect that the saponification did not take place properly, is hard today. Tomorrow or the day after I will cut and dry both. Then the test. When in doubt you can taste whether the NaOH has disappeared or not. If the NaOH is still in the soap it will tingle. So you can’t use that soap for your skin, but maybe you can still use it as a base for a detergent for your clothes.

Soap making: first aid for soap problems

Soap making always went well, but maybe it was beginner’s luck. Since a few years I make my own soap with laurel berry oil. And a basic olive oil soap. I had excellent results. Until today.

I wanted to make lavender soap, but it already went wrong in the base

Because I wasn’t sure how dried lavender would keep in the soap, I made half of what I was up to. Luckily. The soap calculator had calculated for me:

  • 276 grams of olive oil
  • 184 grams coconut oil
  • 67,55 grams NaOH (sodium lye)
  • 174.8 grams of water (lavender hydrolate, tap water or distilled water)
  • 14.26 grams of essential lavender oil
  • Dried lavender

Luckily I hadn’t added the lavender oil yet.

  1. Add NaOH to the water (not the other way around).
  2. Heat olive oil and coconut oil au bain Marie.
soap making so far so good
Heat olive oil and coconut oil au bain Marie.

The temperature of the lye turned out to sting at 30 degrees. I should have stopped by then, because that’s not good. If you add NaOH to water the temperature rises enormously.

The mixer overheated but no ‘trace’

According to the recipe, both lye and oil had to be between 30 and 40 degrees when they were put together. And that’s what I did quickly. (stupid!) The lye a bit colder than the oil, but between 30 and 40 degrees. Earlier I always had both at exactly the same temperature, between 40 and 50 degrees.

  1. I added oil and lye together and started to mix. The mixer overheated, but the mixture didn’t get thicker, no trace of the so-called ‘trace’. You should be able to put a mark trace the mixture before adding essential oil and pouring it into the mould.

After three quarters of an hour I gave up. And I could have done that after just fifteen minutes, I now understand.

what went wrong with the soap?

I searched in Dutch on the internet. After all, that’s my mother tongue. But couldn’t find any help with soap problems. Apparently everyone in the Netherlands immediately makes good soap. 🙂

Still, I needed to know: was it the sink unblocker NaOH, which didn’t get very hot and, on closer inspection, only consisted of 90% NaOH?

In English I came a lot further. On this great website with answers to a lot of mistakes you can make. It became clear to me right away that my lye is not good. I’d better buy others. And I also read that if you don’t use palm fat (who still uses palm fat? I hope no one else does) it’s better to use a lower percentage of water.

You can change that percentage in this soap calculator. From 38% in my recipe to 33% or even lower, which is recommended according to the Nerdyfarmwife.

I’m going to make another lavender soap soon. With new lye and less water.

Throw away olive oil and coconut oil? That’s not so sustainable.

And what do I do with this mix of olive oil and coconut oil? Disposal is not very sustainable. After browsing the internet I found out that my temperature was also very low. I came across the tip on the internet to possibly use unsuccessful soap as a basis for a detergent for clothing. What exactly I had to do was not clear.

Is this a real trace or not?

I reheated the au bain Marie pan and when it came above 50 degrees and I kept mixing the contents pulled a kind of trace. Is this a real trace or not? It would be more logical if the oil became thinner instead of thicker.

Is this a real trace or not?

I have put the thicker mass in an opened milk carton. Let’s see if it hardens and if it can eventually be used to wash clothes. I can always throw it away. What is certain is that I will not use this batch for the skin. This is only possible with guaranteed successful soap.

Propagating lavender by cuttings, is that really that easy?

Everywhere I read that propagating lavender by cuttings is not difficult. Easier than sowing and much better too, because you keep the original characteristics of the plant. But with my lavender cuttings this spring I went quite wrong.

Propagating lavender by cuttings, is that really that easy?

Propagating lavender in a cutting tray

I took extra precaution. I bought a cuttings tray to keep the temperature at a desired 22-25 degrees. And cutting powder, from two brands. I watched videos on the internet about propagating lavender by cuttings and made at least 100 cuttings, with and without two different cutting powders.

But the result was 0. Only 1 out of about 100 cuttings got significant root formation and eventually died.

What did I do wrong?

According to a friend here in the Alpujarras I had pampered them too much. Furthermore I read about the soil, potting soil was wrong. I had mixed the potting soil with poor garden soil, but it was fertilized potting soil, others were not available here.

Lavender cuttings in autumn in four ways

At the end of September I tried again. This time no cutting powder and no potting soil. And according to four different methods.

  • Outdoors in the ground, under a small tunnel against the still relatively warm Spanish sun.
  • Outside on the terrace in two planters in the shade.
  • Inside in the cutting board, but without heating because it is still warm enough.
  • And I have partly dug in a number of side branches of lavender plants, in the hope that they will form new roots.

Cuttings soil

In the planters and cutters I put 1/3 part sterilized soil of the land (sterilized in the solar oven) 1/3 part perlite (for better drainage) and 1/3 part coconut substrate (contains no fertilizers and retains water). Outside on land, the cuttings are simply in the ground.

Water, what is not too much and not too little?

Something I hadn’t thought of before is that it’s quite difficult to know when the cuttings need water. Larger lavender plants don’t need a lot of water, but cuttings shouldn’t dry out. What is neither too much nor too little water?

I use a handy device. It was for measuring the PH, but that doesn’t work at all. There are 2 positions more on it. Light and moisture. I don’t really see the point of the first one yet, but the second one works well. The moisture gradations are useful to keep track of. At position 4, the lowest position of moist, I give (a little bit of) water. Maybe it’s too late or too early, but it feels good to be able to measure something.

handy device for measuring moisture. Normaly with 2 legs but PH and light doesn’t work, so we cut of 1 leg.

Update: two weeks later

All the cuttings seem to be alive and looking good. Except for 12 cuttings in the cutting tray. They even started to mold. Apart from the mouldy cuttings I also removed the plastic caps from the plugs. That’s right, pampering lavender too much is not a good idea.

To be continued

Do not wait to sterilize the cat. Five kittens by surprise.

My son has a cat. Not so good for the environment, but nice of course for him. It became a serious environmental problem when she suddenly turned out to be pregnant. Do not wait to sterilize the cat, is my advise.

When the cat had to be sterilized, the vet was ill. So he gave her a shot so that she wouldn’t get pregnant for a while. The jab, he said simulated a pregnancy. But it was nonsense and worse. She became pregnant and we did not realize it because of that false pregnancy. When we found out she was already too far away for abortion.

Do not wait to sterilize the cat
So cute

I am a vegetarian and meanwhile I give my cats meat in the form of lumps. How disturbed is that?

We have 5 cute kittens now. They are incredibly funny and sweet, but I hope never to experience it again. They are a serious disaster for the environment. I am a vegetarian and meanwhile I give my cats meat in the form of lumps. How disturbed is that? So do not take a cat or else, do not wait to sterilize the cat.

How can I limit the environmental damage?

  • Immediately sterilize them with 6 months. Both the females and the males
  • Dry cat food instead of fresh meat or wet food
  • Don’t buy stuff for the cats
  • Clean the litter box twice a day to save litter
  • Search for an alternative to cat litter, such as wood chips
  • If they go outside, then with a whole zipper of small cat bells on the collar so that birds and rodents are warned
  • Keep the cats indoors as soon as small birds fly out
  • In the meantime we enjoy them. What else can we do?
  • Does anyone have an other idea or want one?

Scratching post for 60 cents and no waste

scratching post for 60 cents

An old piece of board and a roll of rope is an excellent scratching post. Wrap the rope tightly around the post and secure the rope above and below with a staple. When we do not need it anymore, whe can reuse both the board and the rope

Environmental aspects of cats

Open post
wild fennel pollen

Wild fennel flowers, a luxury in the wrong place

This week I removed some black plastic on the land of my future lavender farm. How are the weeds after 3 and 6 months covered with black plastic? The good news: the bindweed is gone. And even in the last few days, even with an unexpected rain shower, it did not occur again. But, I seem to have a new enemy. A plant that is apparently much more persistent. Namely wild fennel.

After six months of darkness, it’s still there

After six months of total darkness, it is still there. Small and white, but still. Even after weeding, they emerge again. 1st round: 42 pieces on 35 m2. 2nd round 13 pieces (that goes well!) But then the 3rd round again 21 pieces. Fennel, that’s just a tough one.

I am shocked to see that the field next door is completely filled with fennel. And in bloom. Fennel flowers everywhere I look. If all that seed comes loose, I have a lot of extra work.

The wild fennel may not go well with the lavender, but it is actually a fantastic plant. You can use just about every part of the wild fennel. On the dried stalks, fish is smoked at the chirinquitos on the beach, I understand.

The wild fennel flowers are delicious in a stew and the young leaves very good in a salad. The seeds you can put in your bread or make tea with it.

One part of wild fennel is even healthier than the other. Against gases, against high cholesterol…

And now they are in bloom, exactly on my future lavender field. It is actually too late to mow, because seed is already falling out. So I make a virtue of necessity.

Manually harvesting the flowers and seeds of the wild fennel

Today and tomorrow I spend a few hours manually harvesting the flowers and seeds. It smells wonderfully of fennel, on the land and now also in the house. It is a shame that they have to leave the lavender field, but luckily they are in many other places on the land and I don’t have to worry about whether they will manage there. They are realy strong, that has been proven.

Recipes and background about wild fennel on the website ‘eat the invaders’.

How to get rid of invasive weeds in ecological farming?

Of course no pesticides are used in organic agriculture and horticulture. But how am I going to get rid of invasive weeds on the lavender farm?

how to get rid of invasive weeds, looks quite beautiful, but bindweed is too agresive.
bindweed, very invasive

New innovative methods to get rid of invasive weeds

Wherever the law stipulates that pesticides may no longer be used, new innovative methods are created to remove weeds ecological. You can use use machines, that attack the weeds to the root with hot steam or hot water. Weeding itself, with the hoe or with hot water, is not necessarily an annoying job, but it is when we are talking about a large area and a very invasive weed.

No weed as persistent as bindweed

No weed grow so fast and is as persistent as bindweed I think. The plant speads with an extensive root branch that can go up to 10 meters deep. And each individual plant slums up through the stem of the lavender. My land unfortunately has a lot of bindweed.

Deep plowing and leaving the ground bare is a method used here. I suspect that the plant will only be multiplied. In addition to that it is bad for biodiversity and can lead to erosion.

Wherever there is water, the bindweed appears. I am quite sure that the seeds come in through the irrigation channels (asequias) here in the Alpujarras.

how to get rid of invasive weeds. Seeds of bindweed spreads by irrigation channel.
bindweed next to an Alpujarra asequia

Picking flowers to prevent them spreading seeds

Bindweed blooms in summer immediately after watering. I pick those flowers on my land where possible, to prevent them spreading even more seeds. And leave not even one dead plant on my land because the seeds will still ripen. I think.

Fortunately, newly sprouted seeds can easily be eliminated with weeding. The deep root system is another story. That doesn’t get exhausted. Also steam or boiling water does not get that deep.

Where other plants die because of pesticides, bindweed simply returns and now with no competition

Neighbors spray pesticides. That seems like an option in the short term, but in the long term it’s very bad. Where other plants do die, bindweed simply returns. And then you just killed the competition.

Mulching the soil, so covering it with compost or straw, is also not a solution. Precisely from underneath the mulch they come out even harder than elsewhere.

So I came up with black agricultural plastic

Black plastic is a permitted method in organic agriculture and horticulture. The black plastic warms up the soil and weeds die because there is no photosynthesis without light.

black plastic on my land to get rid of invasive weeds

Doing nothing makes the problem bigger and bigger

Plastic contributes to climate change and plastics in the sea are a disaster. See my blog about plastic. It’s not easy to do everything well. But doing nothing or waiting longer is not an option, because the root system grows at lightning speed.

So I went looking for plastic that had already been recycled and can be recycled again. After 1 month all weeds under the plastic were dead, except for the bindweed and another stubborn specie. Where I planted my first 40 lavender plants the plastic was only there for two months, but that was clearly too short. I still have to weed every day.

5 months later all bindweed is dead

Now 5 months later all bindweed under the plastic is dead. I am very curious if they will reappear when the circumstances improve. So when sunlight and water comes in again. I’m going to try that soon. Am I able to plant more lavenders in autumn or should I wait longer? Fingers crossed!

More about bindweed on wikipedia

Living without plastic is not only skipping packaging

We probably all know about the problems with plastic. It never breaks down and in the sea, it falls apart into smaller and smaller pieces and harms our health as well as marine life. According to the Plastic soup foundation 5% of the annual oil production is used to produce plastic. In this way, plastic also contributes significantly to climate change and it would be beter living without plastic.

Luckily, living without plastic is popular

If I search for living without plastic I get 437 million hits in Google.

The many tips I found are almost all about plastic packaging. Refill your water bottle; buy food in bulk, use solid soap instead of liquid. The tips range from relatively easy to implement to more difficult.

The milk package is a tricky thing for me.

Finding groceries in the supermarket that are not packaged in plastic is quite a challenge for us in the mountains in Spain. Simple because there is almost nothing to choose. The milk package is a tricky thing for me. Milk should disappear completely from my pattern because of the enormous climate burden.

1900 kilotons of plastic in 1 year in the Netherlands alone

But today this blog is about plastic. Research by CE Delft (unfortunately the report is only in Dutch) on behalf of Greenpeace in May 2019 showed that in the small Netherlands in the year 2017 alone 1,900 kilotons of plastic were put on the market. That plastic is used as follows:

  • 40% large and small utensils
  • 30% packaging
  • 15% building material
  • 11% clothing and textiles
  • 3% cars and electrical and electronic devices

There is justifiably much attention for packaging, which represented 30% of the total in 2017. In addition, the number of plastic packaging had increased by 10% in the previous five years. And they are of course often unnecessary.

living without plastic

Apart from packaging, there is much more to cut back on plastic

40% of the plastics is used in large and small utensils and 11% in clothing and textiles. We, as consumers, may not be able to do something directly with building materials (15%), but apparently we can do something about large and small utensils and textiles. I start with something that is easy for myself. but apparently much harder to others.  

20 items of clothing and 6 pairs of shoes per person annually

According to the Dutch environmental consumer site, Milieucentraal, people in Holland buy an average of 20 items of clothing and 6 pairs of shoes annually. I am shocked.

I hardly buy clothes, but apparently I am an exception. Maybe it’s easier for me because I live far away from clothing stores?

organic cotton is not really sustainable

But if I do need clothing or textiles, what do I buy? So far I am mainly looking for organic cotton. It does not contribute to the plastic soup and no pesticides are used for it, but it is not really sustainable either, due to the large demands on land and water.

Acrylic, lycra, polyamide and polyester are apparently the substances that account for 11% of plastics. That’s almost half of the amount of packaging.

The most sustainable is the reuse of textiles. And of course take good care of your clothes and not buy new ones if that is not necessary. According to Milieucentraal, Tencel or lyocel is also doing well.

The shepherd can’t get rid of his wool, that’s double waste

Like silk, wool is doing terribly badly on almost every environmental aspect but plastic. I think not everyone comes up with that. A shepherd in my neighbourhood has his shed full of raw wool, he can’t get rid of it. That is double waste. Let’s see if I can do something with it later.

I think I score reasonably well on clothing, but not on all plastic

On my land there is a large piece of black plastic to get rid off some stubborn and invasive plants before the lavender arrives. That is approved in organic agriculture, but plastic. Was that the right choice then? A lot of stuff to find out, it’s not so easy to live sustainable. But necessary. So I will continue to figure out how to live a more sustainable life. Here you can read why.

Lavender harvest for the very first time

The first lavender harvest could never be great. The test field I started with this spring contains only 40 plants. Moreover, the harvest in the first year is simply not high. But still, the first results can be there.

first lavender harvest
First lavender harvest: an explosion of scents and colors

Explosion of scents and colors

Not all lavenders gave a good yield right away, but some varieties just kept on flowering. The smell of 13 different types of lavender comes to me as I descend the stairs to the basement. Because that is where I dry the harvest bunches. What an explosion of fragance!

The sweet scent of the lavandula angustfolia

Especially the sweet scent of some angustfolias is fantastic. And then the colors. Varying from white to the darkest blue. In comparison, the lavandin that I was allowed to harvest from a friend is a bit pale in color.

lavender harvest of lavandin
Lavandin, harvested in the Alpujarras at the foot of the Sierra Nevada

I was actually a bit late with the harvest. Within a few days the lavender flowers automatically felt from their stalks into the bed cover that hangs underneath the bundles. I think I should harvest earlier next time.

Sustainable lavender harvest

But what to do with all those buzzing bees above those beautiful flowers? Harvesting the flowers sooner is not necessarily in favor of the bees, who already have such a difficult time. If I have more lavender plants, I will leave them some flowers.

Lavender flowers, good for the bees
Next time I’ll leave more flowers for the bees. They have a hard enough time. Even in the nature reserve where I live, pesticides are unfortunately the most common thing.
Scroll to top