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How to gather your own lavender and use it for crafts and cooking.

I've been re-posting some ideas from my old blog to bring to my new audience and I thought this one is appropriate today as I stepped outside to see my lavender in full bloom, bees buzzing around it and ready to harvest. If you too have a lavender bush in your garden, then take advantage of this fragrant plant and gather some of it to create some goodies, which you will find on our FB page this week...

The time to gather can vary with what you read, but I prefer to gather mine in the morning as early as possible and before the sun fully dries the buds. What is most important is that the plant is dry and the sun is not intense. This is when the fragrance is at its strongest.

Cut the lavender long to hang and dry for buds and flowers suitable for lavender bags, or short stems to dry laid out in a warm dry place (sun drying is fine) to use for food.

Counter dry your flowers heads, spaced out

The short stems will only need a couple of hours to dry, but the long stems will need to dry for two or more weeks.

Tie bunches of long stems and hang upside down to dry

Last year's lavender is still hanging in our home and still smells when you rub it. If you have any from last year, don't bin it! Give it a rub to reactivate and check for scent, and then use it for lavender bags or pot pourri (don't use for food).

**A note on gathering for food: If you have grown your own plants, then these should be safe to use if you garden organically. I would wait until the year following planting to allow any pesticides used on plants before purchase to have disappeared.

Be careful where you pick your buds and only do so when you know the plants are organic.**

Air drying is preferable because it helps to maintain the oils in the buds, but if you don't want to wait or don't have time, then oven drying is your alternative. Dry at a very low temperature. 100°C will be hot enough and only leave it for about 10 minutes. Once the stalks are brittle it is done. If you can, leave the oven door open a fraction while it is inside.

Finally, when air drying just remember to hang your stalks in as dark a place as possible as this will help to preserve the colour. If you have seen my rose petal post, you will know how much the light fades the flowers, but the colour can be maintained in the dark.

So, happy drying! Remember I will be posting some ideas for using your dried lavender during the week on our FB page, so make sure to follow us so you don't miss it!

See you next week :)

Debbie x

P.S. Don't forget our August 2021 30 Days Creative children's challenge is up and running but there is still time to join in! Sign up here

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