Updated: Sep 18, 2022
As we return to the farm from our first week of vacation in almost 3 years, we have realized how necessary taking time to rest is for farming. Rest is needed for the people but also for the land.
When the body is deprived of sleep, it is unable to rebuild and recharge itself adequately. Your body requires rest. Farmers who start at sunrise and go to sunset must be healthy to do such a job and being healthy means giving focus and time to rest. As is the same with the land. The demand for our hay this year is high and we thought about trying another cutting but we decided NOT to do so.
Even the Bible in Exodus 23:11 talks about letting the land lie unplowed and unused. God wants us to take care of the soil and to recognize that we are merely tenants on HIS land, responsible for maintaining its fertility. Virtually all agricultural colleges know the benefits of crop rotations and of "resting" land by putting it in pasture or cover crops periodically. Good soil conservation measures should also be practiced. So our plan this fall is to be thankful for our harvest and to give back to the land. For the lavender, we plan on plowing a new field this fall and letting it rest then plant more lavender next May. We intentionally didn't plow up everything last year because we knew we would need to rotate the beautiful fields we started. In about 7 years, it is likely we will need to plow up those fields and replenish the ground and then plant again. In order to always have our beautiful blooms and make our products, we need to have other fields planted in different years.
For the hay, we will spend the fall testing the soil, adding lime, determining our fertilizer needs for spring and reseeding with orchard grass and timothy. We have found overseeding helps to pdroduce a good stand and drives out weeds. The fall is the preferred time, however we have had good success in early spring. Below is a short video on the seed drill we use. There are multiple ways to seed/overseed. Spreading with a cyclone spreader and then using a cultipacker is just one method. I recently talked with a farmer who scattered his seed on frozen ground during winter and then let's the freeze thaw cycle incorporate the seed into the ground. No matter the method, good seed to ground contact is absolutely essential for seed germination. Other factors are depth of planting, moisture and temperature of the soil. Also, don't forget to calibrate your seed drill to ensure your output (i.e. 12lbs/ac) is as accurate as possible.
For ourselves, we may take another long weekend but we will go to the gym, use our CBD Lavender cream to ease hard working joints and use our linen spray to help us sleep better. If you haven't tried these products, you will get 15% off from reading this blog. Just put the code REST at checkout.