The Ups and Downs of Farming…..

If you attended our Upick event, you most likely saw our sign that talked about that plants we received last year from one of our suppliers had a disease.  It wasn’t all of our original plants, but the disease spread and the whole field is considered at risk.  The sign also talked about that we are working directly with Clemson on a treatment plan and they are using 2 of our rows for experimentation.  It actually turned out to be an on-going national issue!

Well, last year, we used a chemical on a schedule and we sprayed it again in May this year.  The chemical is used to support the plants’ health and essentially boost their immune system against the disease and it has wide-spread use in all sorts of crops.  We didn’t have problems with the chemical last year, but this year, we had phytotoxicity, or plant injury, where our plants’ leaves and stems got burned.  There are some cultivars where the same exact mix of chemical had no damage at all.  We’ve tried to figure out what made it so different this year and it could have been any number of things – because they were close to flowering, maybe we were too close to the hot part of the day, maybe they didn’t have enough water before we sprayed, maybe this or that, etc.

No matter the cause, the result was at first, yellow areas in the plants.  Then those yellow areas started dying back.  The leaves and stems in those areas turned grey and look almost dead.  Except…..except the wood is still alive if you break off a branch and there are spots of new growth in the grey areas.  And the new growth is coming out even more with a little help from the recent rain.  Lavender is famous for being able to grow back if the wood isn’t too woody.  But even with that new growth, it is possible the plants with the most damage may not recover to full production quantity and they’ll have to be pulled and replanted.

We had a beautiful spring with so many blooms.  And we have plants that were unaffected that will be beautiful again next spring.  But we have plants that have had a set back and we will have to wait to see how they recover.  That’s part of farming that’s a really hard lesson – you can’t control everything.  You want people to see only the good things, but you can’t deny the ups and downs of farming and it’s all part of the process.  We’ll have to see how things progress!  Below are some pictures to help explain.