Posts Tagged 'dye plants'



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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Woad: Seeds

One of my favorite dye blogs is Rihivilla Dyeing with natural dyes. Wonderful pictures and good information. The current post: Riihivilla, Dyeing with natural dyes: Now in my garden Nyt puutarhassa has a good picture (scroll down a bit) of what Woad seeds look link when ready to harvest.

Pictures of my going-to-seed Woad plant below. (Hand in pictures to give an idea of the size of the seeds.)

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Woad and aphids


Woad flowers. What you don’t see in this picture are the aphids.


Up to now it seemed that nothing wanted to lunch on my dye plants, not even snails – and the latter are capable of tearing up a cactus.

At least until a couple of days ago. Went out to water the garden and found a herd of aphids parked on the Woad plant just below the flowering stems.

The plant seems ok, continues flowering and I’ve started spraying with my home brew ‘insecticidal soap’  (dish soap and water).

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Woad and Weld: more going to seed

Most of the time my Woad plants have looked rather cabbage-like. Now that one of  them has switched into seed producing mode it is shooting up like a mutant broccoli.

For the Weld, I’m going to dry most of the plants and let a bit go for seeds.

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Spring, Woad and Weld: going to seed


Jack, through the back screen door. The cats are always looking for the door to spring.

Garden around late January, early February.

Still looks a bit bare.  Shortly after this picture was taken the Weld took off.

Weld
I haven’t written much about using Weld. From: A Dyer’s Manual / Jill Goodwin (ISBN 0-7207-1327-7)
“The whole plant above ground may be chopped and simmered fresh, or carefully dried for use during the winter. There is little difference in the depth of yellow color from fresh or dried plants but the range of greens is greater from freshly cut leaves and stems.” (p.63)

 
[Weld plants, pictures taken only a couple of weeks apart. ]
Goodwin also mentions that the the plants grow about 3ft before flowering.

And the Woad

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Woad and Weld: 2010 to 2011

When I first tried growing my own dye plants identification was difficult. As I’ve written about previously I had my Weld confused for Woad until some kind person pointed this out and we ended up swapping seeds.

A google image search  on Woad or Weld plants usually gets flowering – i.e adult – plants. Images of young Woad or Weld plants seemed rare so I’m trying to document my plants as I grow them.


Woad and Weld. (Sorry, I now realize that I should have photographed these with a ruler or something to indicate size.) Till you see them over a few plantings they look pretty much  alike.


The Woad plant about a month later.


The Woad about four months later. These are still youngish plants but now easier to tell apart.


And here is the Weld, shot at the same time.  At this point they finally look different.

If it helps any here are closer shots of the leaves. Weld first and then Woad.

Detail, looking down into the Weld plant.


Woad leaves I had cut for processing.

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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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