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Lavender - Harvesting and Processing

During first year plantation young floscules are harvested to give fine bushy shape to the plants. This is imperative since these markedly exhaust the young plants. Freed from the floscules young plants develop a strong tuft which guarantees a high crop during the following year and are better able to cope with adverse weather, pests and diseases. Lavender blossoms in Kashmir in the last week of June and continues till end of July. Though there is later flowering in the month of November and is not economical for processing of lavender oil. The flowers during that period are collected, dried and sold as such. Harvesting of flowers is done by a sharp sickle on bright sunny days when 50-60% florets are open. About 60-70 qtls. of flowers per hac. are obtained after 3rd year onwards. Herbage will go on increase if proper cultural practices are followed. Flowers are immediately distilled in a still operated by a boiler. Distillation is complete within one and half hours.

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Field view of Lavender Field
 

It has been observed that recovery and quality of oil is higher in steam distillation as compared to direct wood fired distillation still. Recovery of the oil on steam distillation is 1.0-1.4%. The herb yield declines after 12-15 years of planting and plantation needs to rejuvenated for this purpose. Plants are cut 10-15 cm above ground level during November-December and farmyard manure is applied during early spring for rejuvenation. Pruning back to old wood where there are no shoots below the cut will almost result in the death of the plant. However it has been observed to uproot the old plantation and transplant with young rooted plants for better herbage and oil yields.

 
 
 
 
Why not come and visit the Kashmir Festival at the farm and take time to walk amongst the rows of Lavender. Enjoy a Cream Tea or Light lunch in the wonderfully scenic views of Kashmir and visit our Gift Shop for our full range of Lavender products and more.
 
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