Seeds of Sky and Sea
September 29, 2009
My relationship with Japanese Indigo began when a humble package of seeds arrived in the mail sometime in the mid-winter. Gently tended in my garage throughout the pre-frost days, the little seeds sprouted quickly and seemed to enjoy their new home in California. I moved them outside into a makeshift greenhouse in March, and let them adjust to natural light, until mid-April.
Here are the plants in the very early spring. Adjusting to their place in the still cold soil. Planted in a mound, about 8″ apart, I wasn’t sure if they would fill their surroundings…. I waited.
On the right side of this photo- the Indigo mound is seen emerging into a continuous plant. It was shortly after it filled this space that I harvested my first crop, and began work on the first small vat.
The excitement of growing a natural shade of blue, was to date, the most exciting experience I have had in the realm of textile gardening. The plants regenerated after each small harvest, creating a rather continuous supply of color throughout the summer. It is now the end of that season. Just several days ago, I harvested my plant for seed.
I am now busily trying to clean this seed- a rather long and time consuming process. As I harvest and remove the chaff, I honor the plant that brought me so much joy through out the last three seasons of the year. Even in the death of its color yielding foliage, it continues to bring me happiness, with the promise that these tiny brown and black specks of life giving DNA, will, in time, bring another round of blue, both to me, and to a local community wanting to grow their own color.
If you would like seeds, I am in the process of cleaning them, and have sent off two packets already!
They are $5 a packet (enough for a nice mound of Indigo), and I will likely have 15 total (not a whole lot)
Leave a comment here (so I can track how many orders I have), and I’ll give you the address to send your self-addressed envelope to!
And here is a little photo documentary of a small portion of what I created with Indigo this year! Thank you Polygonum Tinctorium.. Oh how I love you.
Handspun corriedale cross rovings individually dyed in layers of Indigo
Peace silk, and organic cotton and hemp Indigo dyed kimono booties
organic cotton and hemp fleece kimono dyed in Indigo