Indigo Harvest

July 15, 2009

Eco-color Files

Today was the season’s first Indigo harvest from my garden. Collection began early this morning, and the dye bath processes ended just before sunset this evening. I have never been more satisfied with a dye color.  There is no clearer reflection of sky and sea than the blues of Indigo.


I’ve been waiting for this day since last October, when I first ordered my seeds.  I planted my Japanese Indigo in December, indoors.  Today was the first day of harvest- July 14th.  So it has been some time coming, and it was well worth the patience required.  I’ve been building a deep and admiration filled relationship with Japanese Indigo over these many months- through tending, watering, appreciating, and gazing over these lovely plants.  It was only today that the relationship was taken to the next level- as I uncovered this most visually delectable natural dye color.

Extracting color included a variety of oxygenating, and de-oxygenating processes.  My handspun organic yarn looks yellow in the dye bowl, because it is.  Only when I pull the yarn from the vat, does the blue begin to emerge, as it hits the air.  I harvested one pound of leaves and stems today, and it was enough to dye 4 oz. of yarn.  My Indigo crop is so healthy, I likely have five or six more pounds to harvest before the season’s end.

If you are interested in this process I recommend Rita Buchanon’s book a Dyer’s Garden.  If you are interested in purchasing seed for Japanese Indigo, and growing instructions, drop me a comment.  If you have an Indigo story, or question I’d love to hear from you.  For the utmost beauty in Indigo processing, check out the

6 Responses to “Indigo Harvest”

  1. Anne Rock Says:


    I am looking for Japanese indigo seeds.

    thank you,


  2. Valerie Says:

    Hi, I’m intrested in learning more about indigo production, at present I am growing woad and indigo but would like to try Japanese indigo. I haven’t found a source for Japanese indigo seed and would be intersted in some. I am reaserching the prossesing of indigo from these varous plants and any information you can give me would be helpful, so far I have only obtained color from the woad that I grew this years. Most web sites I look at just start with purchasing indigo dye but I want to know how to obtain it from the plants themseves.

    • ecologicalartist Says:

      Hi Valerie,

      I recommend a book by Dorothy Miller ‘Indigo’– Its all about Japanese Indigo (that is the species that grows best in this region). That is by far my favorite book!

  3. Julie La Salle Says:


    I am looking for Japanese Indigo seeds.

    Thank you.


  4. Cecile Lewis Says:

    I have indigo seed harvested September/October 2010. Grown in Minnesota. Please let me know if you are interested. Doing germination test now.

  5. Ellen Laing Says:

    Hi Cecile – I would love to get some Japanese Indigo seed if you still have some. My email is cookielaing(at) Thank you! Ellen

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