Archive for the 'garden' Category



Tomatomania and pictures of dirt

Tomatomania is a wonderful,  mostly tomato (California local) plant sale. Lots of enthusiastic gardeners, more varieties of heirloom and homegrown tomatoes then you can imagine and generally good fun.

My vegetable is so small everything merrily cross pollinates. This event gives me an opportunity to toss in some new varieties.


Tomatoes, Sweet Basil, Strawberry and Ladybugs.


Ladybugs on the loose.

And in the dye garden
What I have right now are mostly pictures of dirt. Not much sprouting yet.


Dirt covered in hardware cloth so small animals (ie.my cats) don’t roll in it, or commit other unspeakable acts on the seedlings.


One project for this year is to see what I can manage with Woad and Weld in container garden.


More dirt and something sprouting.

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Woad Seeds, dye pots and more or less interesting messes


I’m still collecting Woad seeds. When the one plant that had started going to seed took off I wrapped it in a tomato cage and will continue collecting seeds as long as they appear. Also on the to-do list is to start sending out seed packets to various fellow-dyers.

  

My idea of an enjoyable weekend: dyed more yarn, Woad and Onion peel pots and made a batch of Plantine and Lavender salve.

Woad Seeds

Since last week I started harvesting Woad seeds as they are ready.

Tomato cage wrapped around the plant going to seed  – so it doesn’t fall over.

This last year I didn’t process enough Woad to dye more than a pair of socks or gloves and I’m still buying Woad powder along with processing my own.

Next year I’m planning for more plants. More of my neighbors are planting vegetables in their front yards so no one will be surprised by the expanding herb and dye garden.

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Coaxing Blue: part 2 – got woad (powder)

My first batch of Woad sludge finally evaporated down to powder.  As soon as the order of Spectralite arrives I’ll test it out.

And the new Woad coming up.

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Summer Solstice, Woad (hopefully) and Weld

Happy Summer Solstice and all that.  On the garden front the Fennel has begun blooming and I have Woad on the way or at least like to think that I do. Last year I misidentified Weld for Woad. Hopefully I’m growing what I think I’m growing this time around. The Weld did however turn out – a good clear yellow dye – and I swapped Weld for Woad seeds with another dyer I met online.

This should be a Woad plant from last years seed swap.

New Woad and Weld covered with screen to keep the local beasties out.

Weld on the way.


This is the rest of the herb garden – some Calendula, Rosemary, Yarrow poking up in the back, Lavender and Sage. Also tucked in there are Valerian, Vervain and Thyme.


And the garden supervisor.

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More Adventures with Woad and Weld or where have all the Dicots gone

gone to Eudicots every one… 

Since I spend a lot of my so-called spare time working with or around plants – dye plants especially –  I decided it was time to understand how they work. This fall I signed up for “Botany for Gardeners” at my local university extension program. (Brian Capon’s Botany for Gardeners –  a very good read.) 

Possible conversation starter: apparently with all the DNA sequencing there has been a shakeup up in botanical classification. The dicots (two-leaf seedling thing vs the one-leaf monocot thing) some of us grew up with (and had a couple of semesters ago) are now eudicots (new two-leaf seedling thing). Who knew.

My standard dye plants are often categorized as “weeds”  so I end up babying along other people’s unwanted garden invaders, Wood Sorrel/Oxalis, Fennel, etc. Recently I’ve been nursing along (what better be) the next batch Woad and Weld.

Weld seedlings:

 

Woad seedlings:

 

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End of summer, Woad vat, cotton, corn and beans

I don’t know how official this is but most people I know consider “Labor Day” – which in the US falls on the first monday of September – as the end of summer. I ended my summer with a Woad vat. The wool is my SCHG challenge recycling/upcycling project.

Starting from the left: Woad overdye Hibiscus (yellow); Woad overdye onion peel (orange-yellow); Woad multi-dipped; Woad one dip.

I had hoped to grow my own Woad but as it turned out I was growing Weld. (Oh don’t ask, so much for my plant identification skills…)

This Woad was purchased in powder from from Woad Inc in the UK. The All About Woad site has really excellent directions and also sells Woad dye and kits.

Besides the dye plants (my project) there is the family vegetable garden. Most years we get a supply of dried tomatoes and soup beans. This year we tried growing corn.  Besides what was eaten fresh and given away we have dried corn (soup, cornbread, etc.).


[dried -> ground -> corn bread]

And the first boll on my cotton shrub just started opening.

Eat corn bread, contemplate the Woad vat, not a bad ending for the summer.

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