Making the Most of Your Homegrown Indigo Part 1: Growing Japanese Indigo

  The ability to extract indigo pigment from any indigo-producing plant species relies on the presence of a single chemical compound, indican, produced within the cells of the plant’s leaves. Indican is the indigo pigment precursor, and is produced within the leaves of over 100 different species of … Read More

Planting Madder: Strategies for a Continued Harvest

  I arrived home from South East Asia to find that spring had sprung in Santa Cruz while we were away–all the fruit trees are blooming, the daffodils, narcissus, and ranunculus are cheerily lighting up the yard, and the bees are taking every chance to gather boatloads of … Read More

The First Fall Dye Mushrooms

  Two and a half inches of rain have fallen in our neck of the Santa Cruz mountains over the last few weekends. The soil beneath the duff is nice and moist, and the first mushrooms are poking up! Hopefully we can look forward to a good winter … Read More

Saving Dye Seeds: Pokeberry

        Pokeberry (Phytolacca americana) seems to be a current favorite in the natural dye world. A North American native, this deep-rooted perennial can be found along roadsides and riverbanks across the US and much of Eastern Canada. The early spring leaves were traditionally cooked as … Read More

Black Walnuts… & An Ode to Fall

    Fall is here–in the light, the chilly nights, the smell of dry grass waiting for rain, and, inescapably, the Harvest. It seems no matter how many years pass, I am always surprised anew when the fall harvest arrives–all of a sudden, everything that has been slowly … Read More

Saving Dye Seeds: Japanese Indigo

              Those of you who planted Japanese indigo (Polygonum tinctorium) in the early spring have most likely found your plants are flowering, or getting ready to flower–especially if you are growing the early-flowering round-leaved variety I have for sale on Etsy. In … Read More

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