Winter Garden Chores

12 Jan

Temps here in Texas are just weird this season. Japanese Indigo seeds are sprouting early. Never have they sprouted in January.

Madder root are poking new shoots out rather than going dormant. Mid-January is just not the time for this dye plant behavior.

Being the weather opportunist I had Emerald Landscape local folks out to pull a large perennial flower bed which was past its prime, weed & layout a pad for an indigo pot work area. More to come on this pot install journey later.

After 10 years here our rosemary had gotten old and overgrown and needed to be pulled. Since John & I have also gotten older as well the day of garden muscle help was most welcome.

Since I did not have to wrestle rosemary bushes out of the ground I used this wet day to trim back madder root away from acanthus bushes and save the roots for dyeing. I hate to toss red roots. The gardeners think I am nuts.

Here are the roots after cleaning. I will let them dry for a couple of days and then cut them smaller for further drying.

The garden bed is now prepped for the 3 year root harvest. It has been 4 years since the last harvest. More to come on this harvest later. Where’s my pitchfork?

11 Responses to “Winter Garden Chores”

  1. Bonnie Davis January 12, 2019 at 1:10 am #

    Hi Deb, I always love getting your posts. I sent Graham Keegan a request about April to see if San Antonio could get involved. I think you went to Austin last year, are you going again? I am still working on a time for you and Jane and a few others to get together. How does your upcoming schedule look? Bonnie

    Sent from my iPad



  2. rsmalbin January 12, 2019 at 2:00 am #

    My you are ambitious!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. shiborigirl January 16, 2019 at 12:05 am #

    with all the rain we are getting here I will be able to go out and dig up my madder root as I have been wanting to move it to a more suitable place. here, i have two sons on whom i can lean on for the heavier work! heave ho!


    • debmcclintock January 16, 2019 at 12:10 am #

      Pitchforks are so useful. Watch out and be diligent on pulling ALL the roots. Madder root is a dye stuff that keeps growing. It will test your patience in the old bed. But if you pull it when the roots put out new leaf you will prevail.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shiborigirl January 16, 2019 at 6:54 pm #

        Point taken. Thanks. I’m not to concerned about anything regrowing in the old spot. It needs to move because it is pretty impossible to harvest in its current location. I’m looking forward to digging it out.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Helen Griffiths February 12, 2019 at 5:08 pm #

    hello I have a question about your dried leaf Japanese indigo procedure. I don’t see how much weight in dried leaves you used for the quantity of chemicals…thanks Helen


  5. Kelly Freuler Hankey March 2, 2019 at 2:13 pm #

    Hi Deb, Will you be selling Indigo Suffruticosa seeds again this year? I purchased a package from you via Etsy last year. It was a great crop. Thanks!


    • debmcclintock March 30, 2019 at 3:01 pm #

      I am sorry, the 2017/18 heavy freeze took out my seed bearing bushes. The 2018 crop is not mature enough yet to bear seed. Keep in eye out in early 2020. I will post it here…


  6. karawaane (@karawaane) March 11, 2019 at 7:58 pm #

    Do you offer classes? I live in sw Austin, and I am a painter but have always wanted to branch out and try dyeing, just ordered some seeds to try and grow my own indigo but outside of a small workshop eons ago – I could certainly use a proper class. Any suggestions? Going to sign up for your enewsletter 🙂


    • debmcclintock March 30, 2019 at 3:00 pm #

      You should be able to grow JI in Austin, you just need to keep them irrigated or watered regularly. I also put up a fabric sunshield in July/Aug when the sun is at its meanest. I always post on my blog when I am teaching locally. Keep an eye out.


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