Today, Monday October 3rd, Elissa and I harvested the indigo we planted this spring. It was a solemn occasion. We are fast approaching the moment of truth. Will these plants, which we have lovingly cared for, yield the precious blue pigment we seek?
As a gardener I always find harvest bittersweet. After months of carefully tending these plants we pull them all up. In less than an hour the patch is bare, no hint of what was so happily growing there only this morning.
If there is sorrow there is also a growing sense of excitement. The harvested indigo makes an impressive pile! We haven’t worked hard for nothing – this will be a success! Won’t it?
Certainly the blue stains on our fingers indicate something!
Of course harvesting is the easy part. Now we must process the plants. To save space we decided to remove all the stems since they don’t contain the sought after pigment. Not surprisingly this took some time! Special ‘thank you’ to a couple friends (you know who you are!) who assisted with this task!
Many hours later we have two kiddie pools of leaves cozily steeping in the kitchen. I think that’s enough for one day, don’t you?
In closing I’d like to give a shout out to all the beneficial insects out there – we couldn’t have done this without you! Also I have only just learned that our indigo, common name of Japanese Indigo, no longer answers to the name of Polygonum tinctorium (thank you very much!) but prefers the moniker Persicaria tinctorium. Just so you know!
- Mira Sophia