Madder Root Harvest 2020

26 Mar

It’s been 5 years since I dug my madder root bed. It is time. With the self isolation in the world today one has time to dig. This is day 3 of my digging. Since my back surgury I have learned to pace myself. I thought I would record the dig/clean steps for others.

Equipment is pitch fork, shovel, buckets(lots of buckets), wheelbarrow and screens for washing and drying. Below you see my equipment and this morning’s harvest before cleaning.

After the fun of digging and wrestling with the irrigation equipment you deal with dirt before it becomes mud. I move the roots from my wheelbarrow to a bucket, shaking out the dirt and trimming the green tips away. Shaking out the dirt means less mud to deal with later down the line.

I have some garden frames and screens I repurpose every couple of years when I harvest. Below is my frame set up by my water source. I set the sun screen fabric on my garden frames and use it to keep my madder in place as I rinse more dirt off. The madder is moved to another bucket for a 2nd rinse. Of course, these rinse waters are put on meadow plants and other areas outside the irrigation system.

After getting rid of the muck I rinse a final time and start sorting and final trimming. I end up with 3 buckets of goods. The greens get dumped back into the madder garden. As I trim, I separate out the large roots from the younger, more immature roots. My plan is to run comparison baths to show the depth of shade in the young versus the older roots.

Finally, I put the sorted roots out to dry. It is important to dry the roots with good circulation so mold does not set in. I do cover this screen and the harvest with another screen to protect it from winds and nibblers.

Finally, I post this older photo to remind me and you why I grow & dig this root.

Take care & wash your hands! Deb Mc

5 Responses to “Madder Root Harvest 2020”

  1. rsmalbin March 26, 2020 at 10:55 pm #

    Quite a big undertaking! Love the results!


    • debmcclintock March 26, 2020 at 11:29 pm #

      Ha, if I ever sell it the price will reflect the labor. Plus kicker is when it dries you lose about 40% volume.


  2. raindropsandlichen March 28, 2020 at 8:46 am #

    How big is your madder bed? I sowed some madder seeds last spring and know I have a long way to go…..


    • debmcclintock March 28, 2020 at 12:32 pm #

      I have two terrace beds that are about 3’x12′. Plenty of digging. Madder is so invasive the terrace keeps it in place.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Alia Tahvildaran May 11, 2020 at 1:11 am #

    Thanks so much for this post! I am venturing into a dye garden this year. Seeing the fruit of your madder labor is very inspiring. My brother just built me a 3′ x 12′ bed for my 15 baby madder plants I started from seed and am hardening off these next 2 weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: