interlude and landraces

yes, it was a new word for me too.  landraces.  i knew there had to be a word for what i was thinking in my head and this is it.  i’m watching the indigo bloom- it’s tiny delicate pink and white blossoms emerging on slender green shoots.  and i’m thinking about where the seeds came from.  not the seed that planted indigo in my head and heart, but the seed i planted in the soil last spring.  these seeds came from Rowlad Rickets Indigrowing blue project in Indiana.  and now, as i watch the blossoms growing to create the seed for next years crop of indigo i wonder…

pink and white blossoms on the indigo

will this crop of seed adapt ever so slightly to my zone 10 garden? to the location in the yard where i planted it? to my helicopter parenting? will it commune more readily with silk in the dyeing process because i fed it with the frass and castings of the silkworms?  these are my wonderings.  and as i searched for a word for this process of adaptation i came across landrace .

…species which has developed largely by natural processes, by adaptation to the natural and cultural environment in which it lives.

as i read more into this i wondered too, if i myself am a product of this sort of adaptation.

it seems we all are.

landrace…a reason for seed saving.

jude is saving seed, fumiko is saving seed. are you?

this leads to bigger wonderings. what exactly is a seed?

it had been devilishly hot here lately. a meltdown in fact. yesterday a breaker in the sub panel went down and now no electricity where i do my work.   a bump in the road. hopefully all will be restored without too much time passing.  fortunately today we are being saved by a coastal eddy and fog so cooler heads can prevail.


17 thoughts on “interlude and landraces

  1. jude

    it was so so hot here this summer, and such a long wet season, last winter so warm as well. i have been thinking how slowly what grows here is changing. as old familiar wild plants here are disappearing. and even a change in birds.


  2. jo

    I\’m going to TRY to save seeds too but this is my first attempt! I\’m just happy my indigo grew at all. I\’m growing it in Mallorca, Spain but the seeds came from California, from the Fibershed Project.


  3. Chimo

    I too have been growing Rowland’s seeds, up here above the 49th Parallel – in the Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada area. Actually, I gave away the majority of the seeds – hoping that someone or many, would have good success, with our much shorter growing season. So far – quite a mix of reports in, but ones at my Dad’s are getting very close to flowering. At least in my eyes ….
    Advice please … I will likely only have an 18″ square x 2′ high plants. Should I blenderize the lot of leaves? or is it possible to try to ferment the whole, and try to make a compressed cake? There will be no chance at all to harvest a second round – and just a slight chance to get the flowers to make their seeds. But … we’re really enjoying wonderful late summer conditions, right now … so who knows?


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      sounds like you might want to do the fresh leaf dyeing with that small amount. you really need quite a bit for composting. i have a small amount for composting myself and in the end i will have harvested 4x a 6′ x18″ patch of it. i’m set on trying out composting.


      1. Chimo

        I think I’ll try some eco pigment dyeing too – wrapping the leaves in some silk cloth – with a good glug of ammonia added to the brew.
        Blenderizing it will be … thanks for the advice. But, I’m going to try to leave a few plants in a pot, in a greenhouse … and see if the flowers will produce seeds like Jude’s. Wowzerinis.



  4. Michelle in NYC

    Oh–“landraces”–is such a wonderful word–and the notion of it absolutely true to nature. I’m a gardener tending a few small spaces for a local church, and, though not growing Indigo (I’ve gotten some for my own dying experiments from Dharma Trading at Jude’s suggestion when I could not allow myself take your wonderful course because I felt too intimidated back then), I’ve grown many woad plants (in pots there because I dare not let them become invasive since it’s not my own space)–from seed Jude sent. I have harvested some young leaves, but not yet tried to use them. Now, a few plants are in fruit, and will soon seed I hope. I’ll save them to see what happens next year. I also let Poke weed grow there (way in the back and carefully monitored because it, though very acclimated to it’s place, being native to our region, is considered a weed by many City landscapers, and can be quite invasive as well)….the birds love it, and I love the berries for dyeing.


      1. Michelle in NYC

        I put the cuttings into a brown bag, seed heads facing down, then hang them up to dry. When they’re ready I just reach in and comb the seeds to the bottom, discard the stems, then sift the pure seed from the few leaves and such. This is especially useful for tiny seed that’s hard to pick out straight from the plant.


  5. vivian helena Aumond-Capone

    I love all this information. The nigella seed pods that you shared are sitting on my desk.. I think in my area 8 I need to wait till spring to plant them and will plant in pots so that I know exactly what they are and not think they are a weed.. Nothing in my area takes over. We get too dry in the summer, 45 days in the 100’s has been a challenge for our well, and even with watering several plants went into shock and died… and even a few trees.
    The wonderful Oaks are struggling now. Love hearing about the silk worms, and the plants…


  6. vivian helena Aumond-Capone

    Love the color of your finger nails, that is the color I put on my toes for the wedding, same color as my linen slacks..

    Do you do dyeing with Procion dyes also, or just the natural… ?? I am teaching a class this week-end, and I send people home with their projects in jars, for several reasons, but I am hearing some just “paint” on the dyes, let them set a bit and wash them off.. do you know anything about that? I would think the colors would be very light and not well saturated



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