Video From Live FEEDBACK FRIDAY: Growing Dye Plants From Seed

Marigold Seeds

This week, we’ve got video and questions from our second live FEEDBACK FRIDAY on growing dye plants from seed. We also learned how to properly plant all those seeds inside and then outside into prepped beds!

Social distance can’t stop us from talking about what we love to do most.

Watch the video here:

This week our special guest was Milisa Moses, founder of Plant Work Shop on Cape Cod, MA. Milisa built off of last week’s live FEEDBACK FRIDAY where we talked about dyeing with flowers and other raw materials. This week she tackled growing dye plants from seed.

If you are not familiar with FEEDBACK FRIDAY, every week, we are emailed with questions from our natural dye community. Weekly, all of  your burning questions are answered by natural dyer in chief, Kathy Hattori, Founder of Botanical Colors. Today for live Feedback Friday, both Kathy and Amy DuFault, Botanical Colors’ Sustainability and Social Media Director were on hand to moderate and answer questions via Zoom.

A few resources from the call:

All of our dye seeds which are currently on sale.
Next week for LIVE FEEDBACK FRIDAY we will be discussing and demonstrating ferrous indigo vats (iron indigo vats) and will have everyone register through Zoom. We’ll do the same time on April 10th at 9am Pacific/noon Eastern.
Stay tuned for info on that.

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We’ll be doing live FEEDBACK FRIDAY weekly until the Coronavirus eases up on us. So come join us, relax and know you are in the company of people who love natural dyeing as much as you!

Indigo Seeds
Courtesy Grand Prismatic Seed

Here are the questions Kathy and Milisa tackled today on Zoom:

-I don’t have a large garden space for planting, just a roughly 3 x 5 ft. space. Does it make more sense to grow several plants of one dye type? What is enough to create dye amounts that are worthwhile?

-Would madder be relegated to greenhouse growing only? I live in Rhode Island and I’m about to start some Japanese indigo seeds, any idea of how much harvest I should anticipate or challenges that lie ahead for this season? I’ve never grown it before.

– I am happy to say I have some weld coming up this spring in my yard after receiving some seeds from a workshop I did with Elin Noble a couple years ago at Shakerag.  I believe it is a biennial, can I pick from the plant this year for color?  What colors do the leaves vs the flower produce?

-Is there a variety of marigold that is best for dyeing?

-What would be the best mordant to use for cotton?

-I live in Australia and am in the process of starting my backyard dye garden. I currently have marigolds growing but was wondering what other plants you would recommend for growing in Australia?

-What are some top tips for those growing indigo (Persicaria Tinctoria) from seed, especially for those of us in colder climates?

-I am growing about 8 types of dye plants in raised beds my husband is making right now. Are there any plants that should definitely not be planted next to each other?

-How many Japanese indigo seeds/plants do I need to make a fresh dye bath?

-How should I collect seeds for next year?

-How do you keep you keep your plants from getting long and leggy when you start your seeds inside?

-Has anyone generated a comprehensive map of local botanical dyestuffs?

-I live in New Jersey on a 16 acre farm with a large garden. I would like to grow indigo and have started plants inside for transplant this year. What advice can you give me for growing success and instructions on how to harvest and process the plant for dye.

-In addition to planting and harvest instructions of seed packets, are there any other good resources to find info about when to harvest indigo for example, and what visual signs to look for?