Escapades with Poke
May 19, 2009
Pokeberry is a native to the Northeast of the United States. It is, for most land tenders- a most easy plant to grow. Here in California, I found one good source of Pokeberry at the California School of Herbal Studies. Last July, I scooped up all the berries I could, and brought them home to make dye. I got a range of extraordinary oranges in a mid-summer dye vat. I saved hundreds of seeds from this vat, and planted them in the fall in small peat pots. I waited, and waited. Nothing. I tried again, and planted many more seeds, and waited and waited. After researching numerous protocols- I found out, one must poke pokeberry seeds, with a needle or pin, prior to planting. I sat down, attempting to get my needle through the slick and rounded hard shells of the 2mm length seeds, they shot themselves all over the floor. I did have several successes. And, now- in the heart of May, I’m admiring my baby Pokeberrie plants, adorning my outdoor sewing studio. I am looking forward to this years dye vat.
Pokeberry from last summer’s berry vat. on corriedale cross roving from West Marin, and two-ply organic yarn from the same ranch.