Growing Japanese Indigo
Why didn't anyone tell me how gratifying it is to watch seedlings germinate and grow? I'm so proud of these little dudes/dudettes and hope to be able to share a garden bed full of them in the coming months. I ordered the seeds from Roland Rickett who is an indigo farmer and artist who is kind enough to spread the love of Polygonum tinctorium.
Dyeing with Indigo is not only one of the oldest dyes, but remains to be a fan favorite. It's unlike other natural dyeing processes where you extract the color from the plant and brew it like a tea. Indigo requires reduction where oxygen is removed from the vat before its chemical reactions (magic) can happen. I've experimented with various types of indigo vats, both successfully and unsuccessfully.
Now dyeing with fresh indigo is another story, which doesn't require reduction and achieved some pretty incredible light blue, turquoise colors. Thanks to the Dogwood Dyer who organized an indigo harvest last Fall where I learned some of these techniques.
So wish these babies a happy Spring and will keep you posted on how it turns out.