Excerpts from an April 2015 Interview with Iris Lee Underwood, Owner, Yule Love it Lavender Farm
What did you need to get started on your farm?
For a one-acre farm I started with 1,000 plants. My start-up costs were around 6,000 dollars which included the plants, labor and equipment.
For someone thinking about taking on a project with lavender what are the biggest factors to take into account?
Lavender is accustomed to a Mediterranean climate and it is more challenging to replicate this in Michigan. This is labor intensive and skilled labor project so you need to be fairly physical fit and be informed about how to plant, prune and harvest the lavender. Need to take into account erosion patterns and soil (sand/gravel mix with a little bit of organic material) and don’t plant too closely or overwater.
Which lavender varieties the work best for Michigan?
Royal Velvet and Miss Katherine Pink.
What are the materials and tools needed to get started?
A weed cloth will need to be put down as a barrier, shovel, gloves, wheelbarrow, several kinds of rakes, hand pruners, till, and area to dry the clippings.
What would be your takeaway message?
For the price of a latte you could buy four lavender plugs (which is the best size to start with). Beyond the smell there are many studies that support medicinal benefits. It can be healing.