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Everything You Need to Know About Lavender

Lavender

Lavender is one of my most treasured plants here at Naturally Knotty Farms. It versatility, beauty make it a staple here on the farm. Up here in the northern climates, it is best to grow English Lavender because of it’s hardiness. Any other type will not survive our harsh Canadian winters. There are several different types of English Lavender (too many to list here), but I’m sure you will find one that suits your needs. French Lavenders are not well suited to our Canadian climate.

Planting & Care of Lavender

When growing Lavender, be sure to choose a site with well-drained soil and at least 6 hours of sunlight. The roots do not like to be wet, so if your soil is heavy clay, be sure to add ample mulch into the hole before inserting your plant. Plant 12″ apart or more depending on the variety of Lavender you have chosen.

New plants are small and may require some mulched straw around the base of the plant to help it survive our winters.

Container or Indoor Lavender

Lavender will grow well in pots in the right conditions. Choose a pot that is 2″ – 5″ larger than the root ball. The pot must have good drainage and choose a growing medium that drains well. A soilless mix works best; peat, vermiculite and perlite will work well and can be found at any reputable garden center. If roots are soggy for any length of time, a root rot will quickly develop and will kill your lavender.

Container-grown lavender can be outdoors all summer long. During the summer the plants will need plenty of water and fertilizer. Apply a liquid fertilizer of 20-10-20 about once a month. After bringing them inside in the fall, give lavender a lot of sunlight. Stems will weaken without enough sun. Artificial light indoors can work well and you may be rewarded with mid-winter blooms.

Pruning

Pruning lavender, whether in pots or in the ground, will keep them attractive. as much as 1/2 of the stem length can be taken off without any damage to the plant. Frequent pruning may delay blooms, so it is best to prune in early spring before blooming or late fall when the flowers are done. A small hedge of well-clipped lavenders make as excellent border for a small herb or flower garden.

Harvest

One of my favourite aspects of growing Lavender, has to be harvesting! The lovely, fragrant blooms are especially easy and rewarding to harvest as they hold up well with little care. Choose to harvest when the flowers are out, but not fully open. Harvest in the morning just after the dew has dried. This is so the essential oils (what gives the plant its fragrance) won’t lose their quality when exposed to the heat of the sun. It is best not to pick when the plant is still wet as it will take longer to dry. Cut the stalk below the flower, where it meets the leaves and the stalks tied in bundles and hung to dry in a dry, airy, warm place without any direct sunlight.

You may choose to leave the dried flowers on the stalks as a decorative piece or, as I do, remove the flowers from the stem. Store your flowers in a dark, air-tight glass container for use later.

Uses

Medicinal Uses

This plant has been highly regarded for its medicinal properties for years. Just smelling the fragrance is said to relieve headaches and it has been believed to cure everything from cramps, migraines, tremblings and even a broken heart. Personally, I have found Lavender Essential Oil on my temples as the best way to relieve a migraine. It is also great for easing the itch of a sting or insect bite. I also use the essential oil as a sleep aid by rubbing it on the ball of my big toe at bedtime. The fragrance of the flower is said to be calming and can ease anxiety or stress.

Lavender Dream Pillow

Dream Pillow

  • 1/2 cup dried Lavender
  • 1/2 cup dried Hops
  • 1/2 cup dried Lemon Balm

Mix all ingredients and fill a small cotton or muslin bag. Place under your pillow for a restful sleep.

This also make an excellent gift for anyone recovering from illness or injury.

If your child struggles with Anxiety, give them a bag to carry in their pocket.

Cooking

Yes, Lavender is classified as an herb and is edible. As most of you know, I make Lavender Jelly with some of my dried flowers. I will share the recipe if you comment below. Lavender pairs well with Lemon, so adding it to your sugar cookies, lemon bars or other lemony deserts will create a delicate floral hint to your baked goods.

Lavender Sugar

Lavender Sugar

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender

Add lavender to a food processor and grind to a fine powder.

Add in sugar and mix to combine well.

Store in an air-tight glass jar.

Making your own lavender sugar is so easy, you might find you always want to keep a jar of it at hand. It can be added to beverages (try it in lemonade or tea) and baked goods, as well as whipped cream and butter. 

This recipe can be easily scaled up or down. If you make a large quantity, it’s easiest to do in smaller batches in the food processor.

There are many other ways to incorporate lavender into your cooking or baking. Lavender cookies are a simple sugar cookie lightly flavoured with lavender and they are dreamy!

lavender lemonade

Lavender Lemonade

The perfect, refreshing drink on a hot summer day!!

Steep 1/2 cup of dried flowers in a quart of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Strain & use the liquid to make up part or all of the liquid when making frozen lemonade from concentrate. Garnish with a sprig of fresh lavender to impress your guests.

Crafts

You can use lavender sachets in your drawers to keep your clothes smelling fresh or make a larger sachet to cover your electric heating pad. Add the dried flowers to your bath water for a relaxing soak after a long day, stressful day.

The possibilities are endless. Please comment below with your favorite way to use lavender.

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How to Live Naturally & Authentically

naturally

That’s a really good question and it really depends on what you want to delve into. There are a plethora of subjects on living naturally. Whether it’s the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the way you grow your garden, to even the products you use to clean your home. I’ll try my best to dive into a little bit of everything and what I’ve learned over the years.

It’s really about making better choices and focusing on the long-term plan. Remember this:

Short Term Pain for Long Term Gain OR Short Term Gain for Long Term Pain.

I want you to read that again. Short term pain for long term gain is doing something right now that may be uncomfortable, but will in the long-run, help us out. This is about focusing on future goals and taking very small steps towards that goal. Short term gain for long term pain is doing something now that you know you will regret later.

Eating Naturally

I’m not here to tell you what to eat, nor will I judge you on any decisions you make regarding what you put into your body. It’s your body and it’s your choice. However; my experience dictates that the better you eat, the better you feel.

Comfort food is usually high in either salt or sugar. We call it comfort food because when we are not feeling our best, it’s because our bodies are usually lacking something and these ‘comfort foods are a quick fix, but not a solution.

We have a habit of eating how we currently feel in an attempt to feel better. When we are not at our best, we fill up on salty or sugary snacks that are not effectively fueling our bodies. This is “short term gain, for long term pain“. BUT, if we chose to eat how we want to feel, we would end up feeling better. This is “short term pain for long term gain“.

Whole foods that have not been chemically altered or processed are the best fuel for your body & mind. Choose fresh, locally grown fruits & veggies whenever possible. Try to source your meats from a local farmer. Bloomers Family Farm or Eatwell Foods at Duenk Farms are amazing in Southwestern Ontario.

Connect with Nature

Spending time outside is the quickest & most efficient way to boost your mood! Any outdoor activity; gardening, walking, jogging or just playing in the mud puddles are proven to increase your body’s production of cortisol or happy hormones. While outside, be very intentional on how you view your surroundings. Look for the beauty that surrounds you. The green grass, birds singing, shadows dancing in the sun or the stars reflecting off the water. Find joy in the clean air, the gentle breeze or the calming music of nature.

Chemical Free Living

My husband has very sensitive skin and I have very sensitive olfactory senses. Which simply means, that Bob is prone to terrible eczema and asthma, while I am prone to severe migraines. Both of us have been on medications for these ailments but the best defense was to go chemical free. I no longer use chemicals to clean anything, we don’t use any herbicides or pesticides in our garden and even our bath & body products are natural. Removing harsh chemicals has made a huge difference in our lives. Cleaning is much easier, Bob’s skin is better, and I haven’t had a severe migraine in years. If you want to know more about how I clean without chemicals, please feel free to reach out!!!

Self-care

We can’t talk about living naturally without talking about self-care. This is a difficult subject for most women, especially Moms because there just isn’t enough time in the day. When the kids, the partner, work, school, & friends all want a piece of your time right fucking now, it feels like we are being pulled in too many directions it can be overwhelming and exhausting. So how do we do self-care without feeling selfish?

Self-care is never selfish!! If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, that is not your person. It is important to take a few minutes each day for YOU! do something you enjoy; read, walk, nap, pee alone, or connect with a friend. Self-care does not need to cost money. It can be as simple as closing a door for a few minutes of silence. Self-care is about doing something nice for you, while you are busy doing for others.

We teach other’s how to treat us, based on the way we treat ourselves. If you don’t put you first, you are teaching others that you come second. Take care of you so you can continue to take care of others. <3

If you are looking for more information on Living Naturally, check out our Summer Workshop Series.

Mind, Body & Spirit – Naturally

Take care of your mind. Learn to slow the racing thoughts, get enough rest, and listen to that tiny voice deep within that guides you to better living.

Take care of your body. Work towards a more balanced diet of raw whole foods and reduce your exposure to chemicals. Get plenty of clean, fresh air and move your body and laugh, a lot!

Deepen your Spiritual Connection. Take a few minutes each day to be quiet. Learn to use breath work to ease stress & anxiety. Find a Higher Power that will guide you to living authentically. Practice Gratitude. Find joy in the life you have built.

In short – You do YOU! Show the world who you are!! They will either love you or hate you, but you will be YOU and no one can ever take that away from you!!!

Living your best life