Wednesday, January 6, 2010

growing colour

In August I ordered seeds for some interesting dyeplants. Weld (Reseda luteola) seeds separately, and woad (Isatis tinctoria), Hopi Amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus x powellii), Dyer's Chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria) and Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) in a "dyer's seed mix" packet.

The mixed dyeplants were truly mixed. It was a tiny pack of seeds where four kinds were supposedly found, but I could frustratingly only tell apart three kinds of seeds. The little red amaranth grains seemed obvious, and this is what they have become:

These plants look nice and strong and are supposed to produce a red dye. I'm starting to itch to harvest some for the first test. Too early yet? I wish I knew.

The rest of the mixed bag resulted in one big weed (black nightshade) and some little woad seedlings that are fighting for their lives in the greenhouse, poor mother as I have been. They need some more soil and water NOW. Maybe tomorrow.

Weld plants are still quite small. I kept them in punnets in the greenhouse a bit too long, but they have acclimatised and survived despite a shift to the harsh midsummer sun. I'm determined not to lose them for drought (they are outside our irrigation zone) so I have been pampering these babies with special attention.

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