Lavender Season in Kelowna :: 2020 Update
Upcoming 2020 Lavender Season at McKinley Lavender Farm in Kelowna, BC
At the start of every lavender season in Kelowna, we provide an update to our customers about news from around our lavender farm.
NOTE ON COVID-19 – I began writing this post before the Covid-19 outbreak began. I have provided updates throughout as to how we are adjusting to this unprecedented economic pause.
Late winter is always a good time for us to catch up. We tend to have some down time waiting for the rest of the snow to melt away. Once we begin seeing the first of the narcissus bulbs push their way through the frozen ground, then we’ll know that spring has finally sprung. That will be all the sign we need to start putting our winter planning and dreaming sessions into action.
NEW LAVENDER VARIETIES, PATCHES and MORE!
2019 was a great year for us to reorganize and work on some foundation areas around the farm. We thinned out a good chunk of our original lavender field. Due to the size of the mature plants that were moved, we were able to fill in a lot of gaps in other places around the property. We also spent a good portion of 2019 creating new patches, beds, parking and a dedicated drying unit.
We planted over 100 blue spear lavender plants around the new parking circle as a variety trial. I’ll endeavor to write a post on this variety trial in the near future. However, judging by the plant health after this winter, it’s definitely safe to say we’ll be growing more Blue Spear in the future.
PLANT 1000 MORE LAVENDER PLANTS THIS SEASON AT OUR KELOWNA FARM!
We are currently growing Munstead, White Ellagance, Blue Spike and Blue Spear lavender from seed. These will be the new varieties this season to comprise our new upper lavender patch on our Kelowna farm. The upper lavender patch was cleared and leveled early last spring in preparation for the 2020 lavender season in Kelowna. We then let the cover crop do it’s thing for a year to amend the disturbed earth and soil. This spring we’ll begin the process to prep for planting the baby lavender plants in the ground. We’ll be adding fabric, irrigation, rock and complimentary plantings such as boxwood, and rose. The upper patch will have 1000 new lavender plants and once complete, it will take at least 1-2 years before we begin producing any significant bundles from these plants. We are so excited to see this new patch take form. The landscape plan is decidedly elegant and should make for a stunning, sustainable garden with maximum plant production.
UPDATE – COVID-19 – Planting the ‘Pandemic Patch’
Well…that was the plan pre-Covid. We have now scrapped the idea that we need to add that much lavender for commercial purpose in light of the current Pandemic. Our new focus is on seeding, and growing fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs for friends and family. As a result, we quickly switched our seed trays over to vegetable starts for multiple varieties of Tomato, Strawberry, Lettuce, Cucumber and Kale. We are also growing Raspberry, Blackberry, Grape, Squash, Pumpkin, Radish, Beet, Potato, Basil, Rosemary, Cilantro, Onion and so much more! We are in the process of building 5 huge raised planter beds, a new dedicated Squash and Gourd garden, and a small fruit basket walking path lined with Apple, Pear, Peach and Cherry trees. Finally, we are also seriously, considering chickens.
The shift was an easy decision to make, especially not knowing what lies ahead with respect to the supply chain. We still have a lot of lavender being grown from seed, so we will use it to line the borders of the new ‘Pandemic Vegetable Patch’. Let’s see if we can get creative to get most of it planted while also using maximum space for food production. It’s a balance, but I think we can do it all. I’ll make sure to post more pics on Instagram as we get this going. For now here’s a picture of what it looks like all sprayed and staked. You can see we have just started work on the Flagstone patio which will overlook the main lavender field. We’re also using some old Pine Beetle wood from the property to create a built in work surface and potting area.
LAVENDER FARM IN KELOWNA NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC THIS SEASON
It’s no secret that this season we wanted to open our lavender farm in Kelowna to the public. Tourists and residents of the Okanagan would both benefit from visits to our micro flower farm. We have a very unique and picturesque location, however our current zoning does not support this level of business activity. Even though we border A1 zoned farmland and our neighbours are also getting into farming. So we are going to continue to work with the City of Kelowna to find a solution. Until then, we will only be able to process online orders, since we can’t welcome you to the farm just yet. Stay tuned for updates on this topic, because one day it will be a reality!
UPDATE – COVID-19
Not much has changed due to Covid. We’re looking at the silver linings and this will give us much more time to work with the COK on a future opening date. Until then, we will continue to sell our dried lavender and lavender products online for customers. We are also eagerly anticipating our 2nd annual tulip bloom! With all the rain and sun that we’ve had the past couple weeks we should have some blooms appearing late next week! Here’s a few shots from last years spring bulbs!
For those of you bored at home, get out and plant a small garden or start a seed using a milk jug in your sunny window sill. Growing any thing is a great distraction! If you’re waiting on lavender, so are we! Stay tuned for bundles back in stock early this May!