Lavender Journal #2: First Farming Lessons - Being Patient & Nature Can't Be Controlled

Starting something new is never without challenge. You can learn as much as you can from books and other resources, but experience and practice are what actually makes the difference.

In my case, farming, on the whole, was a steep learning curve. And it still is. In my opinion, there's just no better way to learn than to actually live it, try it and learn from mistakes. It's actually a mindset that took me a while to internalize and realize that starting this lavender farm will require more than just learning about horticulture and farming. It's a continuous journey, where the most valuable lessons involve personal growth.

During the first months of growing lavender, I had to learn two big lessons to be able to recover from setback, understand that things take time to develop and that even failure is an opportunity for growth.


 

After planting in late March, I took monthly visits to my lavender field. The first two months were so scary. Not having previous experience, I had no idea what to expect with the plants. How fast they would accommodate to the new soil, how they would react to the capricious Spring weather, when or if they would start blooming.

I read so many stories from other lavender farmers and each was unique and felt completely different than what I was experiencing. Or, different than what I was expecting to happen. My every trip during these first two months felt like huge setbacks and potentially, a failure. To be honest, by the end of April, I wasn't even expecting to see these plants in bloom.

It took me a bit of time and introspection to realize that my biggest issue wasn't that my plants were accommodating slowly.

My problem was that I did not realize I would need to be patient.

Lavender plants at the end of April

Lavender plants at the end of April

Lavender plant in mid May

Lavender plant in mid May

It took another trip, in May, to realize that all these plants needed was patience. Now, that I know that, it seems like such an obvious thing. Although I grew up in a mountain town, surrounded by nature, having been living the busy city life for the past 9 years, I forgot that nature has its own rhythm. Sure, you can push it, but that's not how I wanted to do things. I didn't plan to use fertilizers or herbicides, so that kind of left me at nature's mercy.

On one hand, my lavender plants didn't seem to be developing very well. On the other hand, weeds did not seem to have this issue. I was stunned to realize just how big of a problem weeds can be. I would clean the terrain of any weeds, leaving it spotless, only to return 3-4 weeks later to find that a lush jungle has taken over my lavender. 

Here's the field late April

Here's the field late April

And here it is in mid May

And here it is in mid May

In my third trip, in mid May, I almost burst into tears when I saw just how tall the weeds grew. There was absolutely no sign left, that only a couple of weeks before I had exhausted myself for two days, getting rid of them.

Initially, I saw this like a major setback, almost an impossible task. Then, I realized that as much as I would like to, I can not control nature. I could try to fight it with herbicides and all that, but to me personally, that just feels wrong. And after all, it is me who is intruding in nature's ecosystem, trying to tame it, not the other way around.