One of the early dye plants that I purchased was Madder which is just as well as it takes about 3 years for the roots to be large enough to harvest. It's a good thing we are here for the long haul!

Madder as a dye product has a very long history dating as far back as 5000 years ago. It has been found on ancient Egyptian mummy wrappings, togas from roman centurions and said to be introduced to Italy by the Crusaders. Madder and cochineal were the main source of a very colour fast red dye before synthetic dyes became common place. But it also gives lovely corals and pinks in subsequent dyeing.

This year was the year where I had a look at the roots of the plants I planted in 2020 and decided they were big enough to harvest. After reading as much as I could I decided that the best idea after cleaning them was to chop it fresh with a coffee grinder and dry the bits in a dehydrator which I then finished off in the oven. This meant that I could store it in a paper bag and use it when I was ready to. This went well and I was able to get some wonderful dye results as you can see in the pics. It really does feel like magic to be able to produce these colours from my property.

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