While we can't always control all the variables in life, a successful outcome is typically influenced by quality data that enables us to plan and prepare to reach the desired result.
In that mindset, I am writing this blog early in my process to detail the steps of my new venture in growing lavender by using AcuRite's digital rain gauge and AcuRite Atlas™ weather station. These weather monitoring tools are essential to guide better decisions for beginning my lavender farm.
This venture began during a family trip touring Washington state with a unique stay on a lavender farm run by a couple who had existing lavender fields in California and new fields they were beginning in Forks, Washington. The owners were excited to share details about their venture, including how they dealt with the differences in the rainfall, temperature, and soil composition between the CA and WA locations. While lavender typically grows in coastal areas with well-drained soil composition, they noted two critical variables of planting in areas with full sun exposure and ensuring proper watering. They highlighted their reliance on their rain gauge to ensure the lavender received enough, but not too much, water during the first two years that could cause root rot.
Their lavender fields sparked an interest in all of us. When we returned back home, I began looking into how we might grow lavender on our farm in western NC. NC has more compacted and acidic soil composition with differing seasonal rainfall amounts than coastal CA and WA, which I learned from testing the soil. The results indicated very little additional lime and phosphorous are needed.
Solution & Results
We tracked rainfall, using the AcuRite digital rain gauge with self-emptying rain collector, measuring during both periods of heavy and no rainfall. The readings enable us to estimate what watering sources we need in the first year or two for the plants. We also determined the ideal height of the rows to ensure that during heavy rainfalls, the water adequately drains away from the plants, so the roots don’t rot. In the first two years, each lavender plant requires approximately 1 inch of water per week. Once planted, we will continue tracking rainfall use the rain gauge to determine if there has been enough rain or if the plants need additional water each week.
I used the AcuRite Atlas™ weather station with Lightning Detection to select the planting area based on full sun exposure and the wind direction/speed. We selected an area that has a more consistent breeze that can assist in keeping the plants cool during extreme summer temperatures and reduce moisture that can cause root rot during heavy rain periods. The Acurite Atlas weather station also provides useful data on freezing temperatures, which we will use to ensure we plant after the last frost. Subsequently, we will monitor during the first year so we can cover the plants during prolonged freezing periods.
Personally, I am benefitting from the light intensity indicator that provides a UV index. This feature helps me know the best times to avoid being in the fields so that I may avoid moderate and high sunburn times. The lightning detector has the added benefit of giving alerts of when to avoid being out in the field.
While we are early in the overall process, I feel more confident in my decisions and the chances of the lavender growth potential from using AcuRite’s Atlas™ and rain gauge, and I look forward to reporting more after our expected last frost date in mid-April.
How do you use your AcuRite weather station for gardening or planting? Share your farming ideas, successes, and failures in the comments below.