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

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

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

Fall Fun: Saving Dye Seeds (the Basics) …Coreopsis, Cosmos, and Bidens

            Where I live, the light has started to shift… the forest smells different, and even though the days are warm, there is a nip to the morning air. Squirrels are starting to scurry through the oak leaves gathering acorns, and the honeybees … Read More

Small-scale Indigo Processing

So you’re growing Japanese indigo (or other indigo-producing plants) in your garden this year. You planted the seeds, cared for the plants… maybe you have even harvested some leaves and done a fresh indigo dye bath. But what do you do if you want to have homegrown botanic … Read More