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A lavender field

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Wildcrafting lavender on Camano Island

In the summer of 2017 I was able to spend some time learning about lavender and making medicine. First my cohort at Cedar Mountain Herb School went to the Ananda Farm in Camano Island, WA to learn about making harvesting lavender. In the Pacific Northwest, lavender blooms in mid July, depending on how much sun we have been getting. Its best to pick lavender when the buds are just starting to open, but before the bees have done their business! The square stalks of lavender are easy to cut with a sickle if you have one handy. Its best to cut the stalks as near to the base as possible. Lavender is typically dried out before you process it in any way.

Learn more about Lavender here.

Lavender harvesting
I harvested about 1/3 of two plants its best to leave most of the flowers so that the plant can continue to feed the bees and to not stress the plant which can be detrimental to its growth. For processing the lavender, I made a few bundles to hang dry upside down. Its easy to tie the stems together. You can store these in a paper bag to catch the flower buds as the drop off. After they dry, you can shake out the dried flowers to use in soap, bath bombs, or sugar.

With the fresh lavender, I removed the flower and chopped with a scissors and filled a jar (not packed). To this I added organic honey. This jar should sit in a dark spot for 4+ weeks, but be sure to turn the jar daily. Strain the flowers using cheesecloth and you have lavender honey which is great to add to tea during the cold months.

Harvest lavender

Processing fresh lavender

Lavender medicinals

I also made a couple of pints of lavender medicinal oil (not the same as lavender essential oil, which requires a still). To make this, I chopped the flower tops and added to a crock pot with organic olive oil. I left the crockpot on low (my low setting is 165ยบ) for 3 days, with the top off, basically until it stops bubbling. I plan to use this lavender medicinal oil in many different products including anti-bug spray, sunburn salve, and foot fungus cream.

I also added some of the fresh flower tops to 100 proof vodka to make a room spray! Again the flower and alcohol mixture needs to mature for 2+ weeks. Finally, instead of wasting the stalks, I decided to make bundles which can used as fire starters for when you are camping!

Lavender bath bomb & witch hazel

Lavender products

 
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