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time and the weather

November 21, 2012

it is one month since it started the composting process to turn my indigo leaves into sukumo

I’ve never done this before and don’t really know what it should look like

the leaves are damp – not wet

they are growing a fine powdery mold with no distinct smell (other than indigo)

the indigo plants that I potted and put in the unheated greenhouse are flowering

too late, do I bring them inside??

the winter winds are blowing

whenever I go out I come home with a pocket full of lichen

this is a paper/silk skein, the silk has taken the colour more intensely

12 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2012 4:04 pm

    Dear Jean
    long ago – I told you I had lots of seed and would get some to you. that is still the plan. The indigo saga is always changing and moving. I cut mine and stripped the leaves nearly 6 weeks ago and because I wanted to use the stems, I stuck them in buckets. Then, of course, life interfered and they got left on the deck. The buckets filled up with water – because we have had a lot of that falling from the sky. The stems kept filling out the flowers and I have been picking the ones that looked like they might have ‘something’. Hope never dies – neither does indigo.
    We had a ferocious frost this morning. It was a careful walk this morning, because the street was covered with sparkles. I thought I should get out and dig over the indigo bed. All those cut down plants were growing, blooming and hadn’t frozen. And the damaged leaves were showing blue! – I could have had another picking.
    I do not like to dig up growing indigo plants – it seems like a killing field, but that is just fanciful. I did check each plant and picked flowers that looked promising, before I dug.
    When I pulled the old cut stems from the buckets [and I haven’t put them on the compost pile – they have been tucked under shelter, just in case I can find time to use them], the water in the buckets was blue – and it smelt like indigo. Truly magic.

    So! I am drying flower head before checking for seeds and I will get seed to you before seeding season starts. I took note of your studio tour earlier, but we were in Vancouver and I missed it.

    I once brought flowering stems into the house and as with your experience, I had a massive aphid explosion, so I hope you have better luck this time. Am very interested in your sukumo experiment – do keep showing us photos.

    Susan

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    • November 26, 2012 4:45 pm

      Susan – what an adventure you are having – the magic of indigo. thanks for sharing, I save every scrap of indigo info that comes my way. my indigo plant is sitting in the warmest window in the house and is really blooming. no aphids – yet – I’m keeping a close eye on it. this year when I dyed with my fresh stems I got a very disappointing pale grey, I’ve had a lovely soft blue/grey in previous years. thanks for thinking of me. Jean

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      • November 28, 2012 5:40 pm

        Jean, when I use the stems I do a ‘wrap’ like I do with leaves and barks. Stretch out fabric – put stems down- add threads perhaps – roll up tightly – tie and cook gently for awhile. I have been able to get lovely mauvy-purples with this method. If there are still leaves clinging, then sometimes blue/turquoise creeps in. Never really know. Every year is different. Susan

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      • November 28, 2012 5:46 pm

        Susan – oh, thank you for that tip – can’t wait ’till next year.

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  2. November 22, 2012 1:43 am

    jean,
    rowland ricketts might be of help with sukumo since that’s his thing.why don’t you contact him? he’s pretty accessible.

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    • November 22, 2012 8:42 am

      Neki – thanks, I think it is like learning to make bread, you need to touch and smell each step to know if it is right. Bryan would be my “go to” help.

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  3. November 21, 2012 5:08 pm

    I’ve never made sukumo – just extract the fresh leaves and dye right away – so I’m no help there. But I can tell you that my indigo started to flower way back in the beginning of September. They didn’t get all the way to seed outdoors so I brought bunches of cut stems indoors in late October. They are still flowering (and growing roots!) in water in vases on the windowsill. But I’m not sure there’s any ripe seed yet. Last year it was almost December before they produced some this way and the plants were somewhat later this year. Any real frost will kill the ones in your greenhouse. The indigo in my garden is already a pile of blue goo! I would bring them indoors if you can.

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    • November 21, 2012 5:20 pm

      Lousia – thanks, I have brought them in. The only other time I brought them in they became covered in aphids and didn’t set any seed. I didn’t know they would root in water

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      • November 24, 2012 11:35 am

        Update – I got some seeds from my cuttings on the windowsill! Only the flowers that were the most mature when I brought them in produced anything though. I’m leaving the rest to carry on for awhile to see if I get more seeds. I know what you mean about aphids but so far (touch wood!) I’ve been lucky with the indigo.

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      • November 24, 2012 12:06 pm

        Louisa – thanks for the update, my flowers were only just starting to open when I brought them in, I’ll just keep talking to them and see what happens.

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  4. November 21, 2012 2:04 pm

    i started the process a long time ago, but it got consumed by a divorce and life, the universe, and everything. but the skein is wonderful.

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    • November 21, 2012 3:02 pm

      Velma – I know all about all of those things. Funny how LIFE gets in the way of having fun. Hugs

      Like

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