the indigo seedlings emerge!
On March 11, I planted a flat of the Japanese indigo seeds (Polygonum tinctorium) that I collected from my garden last fall, along with and a packet of madder seeds (Rubia tinctorum) that I purchased from Horizon Herbs. Since the indigo seeds are so small, I covered them with only a dusting of potting soil. The madder seeds I planted a bit deeper.
About 10 days later, the seeds started to germinate, but we entered a period of very wet and cold weather, so I brought the plants indoors for some warmth. A week later (and after the day when my garden was completely flooded) the sun came out again and it finally felt like spring had arrived!
So now the little plants are outdoors enjoying the sun, and growing stronger by the day. (Except for those that got eaten by snails the other night.) As soon as they are about four inches tall I will transplant them.
Another interesting dye plant that I plan to add to the garden this year is Cota, or Navaho Tea. It is a drought tolerant medicinal plant that yields a beautiful orange dye. I learned about it from Rebecca Burgess, and she writes about it in her beautiful new book Harvesting Color.