Posts Tagged 'Weld'

June-July Weld Plants

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Weld plants from June to July. Some Woad in the background.   These seem to be surviving the drought weather under tree shade.  Last year’s Weld and Woad and actually most of my herb garden didn’t survive the heat wave so this year I’m more focused and picking areas of the yard where they might survive.

For the record, mine are growing these in southern California, USA. Definitely not native to the area.  The two pictured have started blooming and not (not in the picture) haven’t taken off yet.  But even two plants can be good for dyeing since Weld is one of those wonderful plants where everything from areal parts – from the ground up is used.

More about Weld:  <http://www.wildcolours.co.uk/html/weld.html> from Wild Colors in the UK.  Good pictures and info about growing, harvesting and dyeing.

Lastly the ubiquitious Wikipedia:  <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reseda_luteola>

Back on the Woad Track

I’ve turned out to be a rather rotten blogger.  I have this idea of only writing where there is something appropriate and relevant and then somehow not getting back to it for a few months.

The plants last seen around September 14 have mostly survived.  Woad in porch planters were eaten by something.  The Woad in the yard took off though one Weld didn’t survive.  Additionally I have some more seeds in flats that will hopefully take off.

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[Woad]

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[Three Weld plants in front, the Woad nearest the tree and another Weld  behind.]

 

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[One of the Weld plants.]

Due to drought conditions – I’m in southern California – there are watering restrictions. On my street odd numbered addresses have  Mon, Wed, Fri and Sunday, before 9am and later in the evening for watering.  For awhile now I’ve been using dish (washing) water on the dye plants and they seem to be doing ok along some shade from the tree.

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My other yellow dye staple is Oxalis, aka the Weed-that-does-not-die. That one is of course did well for it’s seasonal appearance and keep a lot of bees happy while providing me with a good supply of yellow/orange dye.

Woad and Weld

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Earlier this year I stared some Woad in a planter to see how it would do.  So far it has survived the crazy weather and nibbling by local urban wildlife.  Looks like it would be possible to grow this one in planters if no yard is available.

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This area is the Weld and one Woad plant behind.  And behind that is the dead lawn.  Current drought conditions are my excuse for letting the lawn go dormant. (Nice word for letting it dry out.)  I wouldn’t have a lawn at all but I’ve been outvoted.  Since I can’t get rid of it I’m expanding the dye plants and medicinal herbs out over it a section at a time.

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One of the Weld plants with the Woad behind.

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.

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 in the Planter

I had this project idea to see how the Woad would do in a planter vs yard.  It started out well enough then one night something made its way to the porch  ate most of the Woad in a pot – but not the yard.  I guess the next few test plants will be wrapped in hardware cloth.


Woad plants in starter pot and the yard.

And the Weld. These are from last years Weld plants. Just starting to come up.


Weld seedlings just coming up.


Weld a few weeks later.


Weld under hardware cloth to discourage local beasties from rolling in it.


Weld section of the front yard, backed by Rosemary, White Sage and Valerian.

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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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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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