Prepping  indigo seeds while madder silk soaks

8 Apr

While the silk sun soaks in the 6 year madder root I am prepping my indigo seedings.  

One fends off crickets and raccoons early on in the season with seedlings so I am trying a safe start on Harley’s sun porch. We’ll see how that works out. 

I am prepping indigofera suffruticosa seeds, second generation from Donna Hardy’s South Carolina seeds.

Some of the plants left out in the terrace garden to overwinter are even putting out new growth. I have hopes that if they are protected from the north winter winds I can get them do their perennial thing.


In addition, I am prepping Japanese Indigo or polygonum tinctorium seeds. These come from John Marshall and I am grateful to have them. I had total crop failure last year due to an irrigation dripline failing me mid-season in May. Due to family illness & death I could not save the plants so I’ll start a new seedbank this year. Not to mention a blue color source. John had written a nice indigo overview about the different indigo sprcies here:

And for guilds, he has written a nice guild to dyeing with Japanese Indigo, info here….

I’ll finish with a intriguing yucca madder test piece. As I “walk” my cat here in the Texas Hill Country I’ve been scraping yucca to see if it can be separated for thread.  I had a piece handy and tossed it into a madder exhaust bath and it picked up the color beautifully….


Not sure what direction this will go but it is percolating…. 

4 Responses to “Prepping  indigo seeds while madder silk soaks”

  1. Justine April 8, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    Working on my madder roots. Cold soaks in the house. Large and small roots mixed. Poured off 3rd dye today and still getting oranges on skeins of alum and cot mordanted wool except on my cotton mop up rag which shows reddish. Could be the cot is keeping things too acid to get reds. PH 6.
    So to all the rest I have added ammonia to PH of 8. Definitely turned more red but time will tell after the soaks in a few days.
    Tricky this madder can be.


    • debmcclintock April 8, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

      Cream of tarter will push your madder to orange. Try a dyebaths with just alum sulfate and see what color you get, should be more of a terra cotta. Good luck!


  2. Leena April 13, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    Thanks for the links to John Marshall blog (indigo is my favourite), and I have also read about your madder experiments with interest, it is always nice to read your posts:)


  3. Winki Allen July 14, 2017 at 1:30 am #

    I have been searching for some of the Indigofera suffruticosa seed for several years…. I am so hoping that you might have just a few to spare.
    I have had great luck with Indigofera tinctoria and polygonum tinctoria I this little community on a small 30 acre lake in east central Mississippi. Our weather is perfect here for indigo and I’ve a pretty healthy little dye garden. Please check my work and dye garden out on Instagram as winki.allen.silks and FB page by the same name .

    Liked by 1 person

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