Posts Tagged 'garden'

Woad and Weld are not desert plants or My Moment of Duh

If you ever forget that parts of Southern California are desert under all the asphalt,  an automotive breakdown in the San Fernando Valley will be your reminder.

Earlier in the year (after my last happy post) I woke up to one of the worst heat waves that I can recall.  For a few days my local temperature beat out that of my (Pahrump,) Nevada relatives.  Yay for me but parts of my garden curled up and died.  Even watering before and after work didn’t save the Woad and Weld.  Not being native or desert plants those two in particular did not survive the summer.  Fortunately I do have seeds from last year and will try again next year.  (Pictures of dead plants would be depressing so just use your imagination here.)

Cotton however did really well and I had enough for various guild friends and myself.

Some of the bolls that haven’t opened yet I bring in doors and leave in a warm spot – window, by heater,  bowl near the stove – and they open later.

First Tomatoes 2013

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Found these a few days ago. First tomatoes for this season.  Unfortunately I missed getting to Tomato Mania this year but one of my knitting buddies did make it and surprised us with this new plant. (Hand is in the picture to give an idea of plant size.)

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Evan managed a batch of plantain salve.  (Plantain the herbaceous plant not the banana.) Yay for the garden “weeds”!

More Woad and Weld Sans Possums

The Possums are quiet this month. (And I realized that I misspelled ‘Possum’ in my last post so now my poor spelling has been advertised planet-wide…)

The Woad in a planter however still isn’t doing well though the Woad in the ground continues to flourish merrily.
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Weld also growing.  Hand in the 2nd picture to give an idea of the size.  They are still small plants but tend to shoot up in the spring.

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I start them off with a cover of hardware cloth (wire mesh) to protect from local wildlife that like to roll and dig into new beds.  Just removed the cover this week since I think they are large enough to be safe.

Possims Ate My Woad

I haven’t written for quite awhile.  I seem to be wandering into various non-dye projects.  As far as the dye plants go there is the ongoing collecting and drying my favorite invasive weed/dye-plant/Bee-snack – ie. Oxalis.

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The woad and weld in the ground is surviving what passes for winter out here but the woad in-planter (on the porch) was nibbled down to the roots and what wasn’t eaten rolled over and died.

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[woad from last year]

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[new weld plants]

It’s probably not fair to blame the woad snacking on the Possums.  We have a surprising variety of wild life that have adapted to city living: Racoons, Owls and Coyotes along with the Possums. Most of these aren’t seen too often unless you work really early or night shifts.

Woad, Snowpeas and Fennel


The 2nd year Woad plant.


Snow peas.

Dye, herbs, veggies and legumes coming up.


Super Fennel. I pruned it down last fall a it is shooting back up.

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

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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