Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Indigo Harvesting

My blog has been neglected again.  It has been a busy summer and now it is back to teaching.  I have been following with great interest http://www.indigrowingblue.com/ .  I am lucky enough to live close enough to have participated this summer.  Rowland Ricketts began this project to not only educate people about indigo, but to let them participate in the process.  I have been posting pictures to  the face book page for the IndiGrowingBlue Group, as have other particpants.

Transplanting happened at the end of May.  We were called to the field by banners dyed with indigo using a traditional paste resist technique from Japan.  The large pieces are typical of Rowland's work.  The banners were hung on bamboo poles that turned the banners into the wind and made a lovely creaking noise as they turned.  Rowland shared the secret of getting the indigo plants to grow stronger and bushier.  The transplanting is an important step. 

The first harvest was back in July when our temperatures were in the 90's and the humidity was pushing the heat index up past 100 degrees. 

The indigo is cut, hauled to tarps and spread out to dry in the sun.  Depending on the weather, the indigo may take one to two days to dry.  After drying, the indigo is winnowed to separate the leaves and stems.  The dried leaves are bagged and stored until they will be composted.

Pictures from teh second harvest and more about winnowing will be in my next post as I get my blog back up to date.Indi

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