Posts Tagged ‘peas’

Woad Woes, Indigo and Some Bragging

June 26, 2009

My poor woad.  Through a combination of nasty soil and an overly-friendly cat, I have only one really healthy plant remaining.  Norman gave up a few weeks ago, Stanley is about to join him in the big vat in the sky, and Claire, Jingles, and Bobo aren’t looking too good.  Ol’ blue eyes Frank, at least, is growing like mad.


I’m not sure if it will be worth it to try dyeing anything much with only one plant’s worth of leaves, so I think I’m going to harvest as much as I can from the other four, plus Frank, and make a woad ball or two over the summer, and see what I can do with them next year.  Which means, alas, I’m stuck with purchased indigo.  Oh, well.

I don’t have to give up on my plans to try a fermentation vat, even though it’s not my own dye plants, so I started that this evening.  I followed approximately these directions with the only exception being that I used some old indigo stock solution instead of fresh powder.

Indigo Vat s

I have no idea if it will work, but I have all that ginger beer brewing experience now, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Indigo Detail

And now, I can’t help bragging about my garden for a minute.  It’s tiny and insignificant, but I love it all the same.  First up on the brag-roll are tomatoes.  After some other seeds failed to come up, I planted two tomato plants, and they have grown up and are just starting to flower.


Next the sugar snap peas that I made the netting for back in May.  They (and my netting) have been a complete success and are now taller than the fence and give me a few peas to munch on every couple of days.

Sugar Snap Pea

Last of all are my favourites, sweet peas grown from seed.  I’m rarely in the garden this time in the evening, so I was very pleasantly surprised when I turned the corner to see the sun just coming over the roofs of the houses across the street and lighting up my sweet peas from behind.  They were glowing.  It was gorgeous.  I took pictures, but you really don’t get the full effect.

Sweet Pea

Isn’t that amazing?  The other thing I can’t share with you is the smell that comes off these babies.  Pure flowery sweetness.

Sweet Peas

Textiles in the Garden

May 18, 2009

Last year in my sculpture class, I made some CD spindles, did some research on various kinds of lace making, and made a bunch of lace ‘webs’ and hung the spindles from them like spiders.  It kind of worked, but the setting was wrong, my pins didn’t stick in the weird walls so I had to use tape, which was ugly, you couldn’t really see the yarn, and most of my class thought it had something to do with music.

But it stuck a bug in my head that large-scale lace making can be fun.  So for experiment #2, I decided to play in my garden.  We planted some sugar snap peas a while ago and hadn’t gotten around to putting up a support for them, and they started to try to climb up the nearby dandelions, each other, and themselves.  Something had to be done!

I got some bamboo chopsticks from the dollar store, carved notches in them to hold the string, and stuck them in the ground next to my toppled-over peas.  I stuck some thumb tacks into the fence above each stake, and proceeded to weave my Pea Support Net of Awesomeness.  Or something.  Up and down, then back and forth, then up and down again.  Here it is:


Functional, maybe not exactly pretty, but I think I can call the experiment a success and if the cotton string holds up all summer, then next year I’ll try something a bit more elaborate!