October 27, 2009
I’ve sent out and distributed to at least 30 seed packets to a range of those interested in starting their own dye gardens. One pertinent question came in from a reader in New York- regarding seed viability. She had experienced many unsuccessful Indigo seed germinating trials. I realized it would be a good idea to do a more in depth viability study on my seed, so that I could be very clear with people about what I was sending them! One other important bit to understand in relation to germination of this seed, is that you must use it when it is fresh- within the year that you receive it is best.
The good news- that I am so happy to share, is that after taking samples of seed from a range of the plants (both pink and white flowering), and testing in them in various conditions (under a heat lamp + seed heat mat, as well as using the kitchen window sill), the seed germinated with approximately 90% viability. If you received seed– keep it in your refrigerator until it is planting time (this is regionally specific). In my area I plant my annuals indoors in the late winter, and early spring for a summer harvest.
I received the most lovely cards, letters, handmade paper, and envelopes from some of the seed buyers– I must thank you all for the creativity and beauty that you shared with me. I will keep them forever, as a testament to the beginning of this journey I have begun as a harvester and disperser. The other wonderful news, is that there is so much more than I expected. My plants went into real production mode this last summer, and I have enough seed it seems to dye the entirety of my neighborhood’s clothing blue. If you would like seed-there is more!