Shawnee hills seeds

Shawnee hills seeds

Shawnee Hills Sandstone Glade and Woodlands, Mantle Rock Preserve, Livingston Co., KY

Credit: Chris Minor

Shawnee Hills Sandstone Glade, Mantle Rock Preserve, Livingston Co., KY

Credit: Chris Minor

Shawnee Hills Sandstone Glade, Mantle Rock Preserve, Livingston Co., KY

Credit: Chris MInor

Shawnee Hills Sandstone Glade and Woodlands, Mantle Rock Preserve, Livingston Co., KY

Credit: Chris Minor

Shawnee Hills Sandstone Riverscour Glade, along Ohio River, Crittenden Co., Kentucky

Shawnee hills seeds

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Shawnee Hills Lavender

Harvest is starting for specialty growers Doug and Charlotte Clover following a busy, productive June on their farm near Cobden in Union County.

At Shawnee Hills Lavender, U-pick season lasts through the blooming season in early summer. It concluded on Father’s Day weekend this year. Then, the Clovers hand harvest the remaining stems, especially the long-stemmed Grosso variety, which has a high oil content and is often used to make essential oils.

The Clovers tend nine varieties of 900 lavender plants on 2 hillside acres. During blooming season, their U-pick farm and on-farm gift shop are open on weekends. Their products include sachets, hand-blended lavender tea, spices, body products, and a variety of apparel and other gift items. The couple sells gallons of a special lavender lemonade to thirsty visitors.

During the rest of the year, Shawnee Hills Lavender products may be purchased Tuesday through Saturday at the Annabelle Market in Anna and ordered online through the farm website, shawneehillslavender.com, on Facebook at Shawnee Lavender or email [email protected]

In late June, the Clovers harvest the remaining lavender stems with a special scythe and hang them to dry in their barn. After three weeks, the lavender is bundled into sleeves emblazoned with the farm’s logo.

During the blooming season, Shawnee Hills Lavender also sells lavender plants in 3-inch pots. The Clovers reserve some to replant their own field in June and July. Charlotte explained replanting needs depend on the previous winter. While only 35 will be replanted this summer, the couple had to replant 125 the year before.

Unseasonable weather early in the growing season left the start of U-pick season up in the air. “The hardest part was deciding the start of U-pick,” Charlotte said, adding hot June weather later brought out the blooms.

Unlike some specialty crops, lavender doesn’t attract pests, according to Charlotte. “Deer don’t like lavender,” she added.

However, lavender doesn’t prefer the Clovers’ Union County soils or growing conditions. Charlotte explained lavender likes well-drained soil and lower humidity conditions compared to those in southern Illinois. To the farm’s clay soil, Doug added lime, cow manure, and peat moss among other amendments. The plants are grown 6 feet apart, farther than in other areas of the country, to increase air circulation.