Madder root bed cleanup

28 Apr

The first qtr of 2016 has been an amazing wet season. Plants & weeds have been very happy. The madder root bed took an unauthorized leap into adjoining garden beds.

 I tore out the top green foliage and did some pitchfork work to move pesky roots that ran along the irrigation line.


I was doing my best to ignore the red root glimmers but I succumbed and took time to separate out the roots that showed dye potential.

I pulled out the pitchfork and dug deeper. Even though they are not 3 year roots, I suspect I’ll get a decent salmon out of the root yield.


Roots are drying now and the bed is now clear for my indigo seedlings. I will report on the color obtained on silk using the “young”  madder root.

6 Responses to “Madder root bed cleanup”

  1. shiborigirl April 28, 2016 at 3:44 am #

    looks good from here!

  2. john marshall April 28, 2016 at 4:07 am #

    I’m jealous!  :-)-John

  3. kayfaulkner April 28, 2016 at 9:44 am #

    What a crop!!

  4. Ladka April 28, 2016 at 8:42 pm #

    I could not resist trying dyeing with one-year madder roots. To my surprise, the colour was fairly strong, only the amount of roots was scarce so I could dye only a small amount of wool.

  5. Jackie May 17, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

    Hello Deb, do you still offer classes? We ( my daughter and I ) would love to learn more about natural dyes. We try agarita and pecan shells and we also try the Brazil plant ( but got nothing out of it). Please let us know. Jackie

    • debmcclintock May 17, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

      I am presenting this lecture today 5/17. I do teach privately, I will attempt to contact you privately.

      Master Gardener Association
      Marble Falls Church of Christ
      3:00 on the 3rd Tuesday: May 17th

      Roots, Wood, Bugs and Berries
      by Deb McClintock

      Natural dyestuffs fall mainly into the following broad categories: Leaves and stems, twigs and tree prunings, flower heads, barks, roots, insect dyes, outer skins , hulls and husks, heartwoods and wood-shaving, berries and seeds and lichens. This is one of the breakdowns provided by Jenny Dean, a noted colorist in Craft of Natural Dyeing.

      I will talk about how we get those colors to “bite” with mordants. We’ll consider how you use different “assists” to push the colors different directions such as vinegar, iron and even the impact the type of water used, rainwater versus well water, has on your colors. We’ll look back in time at what was used historically and talk about safety today. I’ll have some examples of the colors produced by cactus tuna, cochineal and Texas ball moss plus more. I won’t make a natural dye expert of you in one evening but you will start looking at your garden plants in a new light. What color will your valley provide?

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