Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Got the Garden Blues

And reds, and greens!

The latest bed (number six! We're halfway there!) took over the section of yard with the indigo. I figured it was time to harvest. Last time I tried dyeing with it, it wasn't terribly successful.


Exactly the same procedure, but this time the leaves had soaked overnight in the water. I don't believe that made any difference, but they smelled terrible when I strained them out of the heated water.


By the time dyeing time actually came around -- had to build that bed, after all -- it was really late after a long, hot day, so I stuffed the fiber in there (no yarn this time, alas -- I'll have to spin it up) and after a bit, pulled it back out.

Whoopie! Real blue. I think the less-dyed spots will spin up so the yarn will look like old denim jeans. That should be a few bobbins full to remember! I'll have to wait for some of that spare time I keep hearing about to attempt it.


Since Denise and Kevin are out of town, I did some garden chores at their house. Pretty minimal, actually. I realized it's a good thing there is at least one hearty eater in the house -- they've got a ton of food coming out of that garden! When I came home it was like visiting Lilliput. I guess that's what lots of fertile soil and lots of water will do for you.

I wrote down all that I got, and the weights, and we gave a bit to neighbors and also to the local food bank. I just couldn't eat it all.


I could, however, do some kitchen magic. Nothing like some gardeners (cough*granny*cough), but enough to make me happy. All those tomatoes? I used Mr. Crockpot to cook them down to a rich tomato confit of sorts. I'll use it as a base for sauces and soups.

My Principe Borghese are drying tomatoes, and last night I figured I'd give that preparation a whirl. Overnight in a warm oven, they turned into perfect, leathery little gems. I can't wait to try them on pizza and pasta! I'm looking forward to growing them next year with more fertility. I like dried tomatoes.


Fortunately, Sven is going to do the next visit to their garden so I won't be overwhelmed with squash and tomatoes.

I'm actually going to plant lettuce and kale tonight -- christening the new beds, actually. Hooray!

12 comments:

Heather said...

Very pretty! I love that you are dying your own~ I am also going to dry tomatoes now that the fruit leather is all done.

Engineeredgarden said...

I'm really missing something about the dye thing, but definitely understand the harvest stuff! Dried tomatoes sounds really good, and I guess you have to use a dehydrator? Also, what do you use the dried tomatoes for? Just curious...

Stefaneener said...

Heather, I might have to follow you into dehydrator territory.

EG, I have a gas oven with a "warm" setting, and I left them in there overnight. Come on, you can see the gorgeous yarn! Growing your own dyestuff is fun fun fun. I plan to make foccacia and stud the top of it with oil-drenched tomatoes and slivered onions, or garlic and pine nuts. . . and pizza, of course. Or you could make a paste of tomatoes and olive oil and spread it on crusty bread. I'm hungry just thinking about it.

Jackie said...

Congratulations on the indigo fiber! It looks great. I made tomato sauce as well...6 pints. Cheers, Jackie

Mr. H. said...

I am really interested in the indigo, what a neat plant I will have to try it in the next year or two for sure...if it will grow in our area.

I'm curious as to weather you leave the oven door open when drying tomatoes like you did? I have always been afraid of over heating the fruit, but using the oven in such a manner would certainly come in handy on occasion. Thanks.

Mr. H. said...

I am really interested in the indigo, what a neat plant I will have to try it in the next year or two for sure...if it will grow in our area.

I'm curious as to weather you leave the oven door open when drying tomatoes like you did? I have always been afraid of over heating the fruit, but using the oven in such a manner would certainly come in handy on occasion. Thanks.

Annie's Granny said...

Stefaneener, sweetheart, do you have a cold? I thought I heard you coughing.

;-)

Granny

PS; the indigo blue is gorgeous!

Stefaneener said...

Mr. H, no I don't. The oven probably leaks heat, though -- it's old. Denise doesn't even have to turn hers on because it stays so warm all the time. You'd definitely want to experiment, and I removed them as they became ready and then let them sit overnight. I assume indigo would grow. I'll see if I can find the seeds (I want more next spring) and I'll send you some -- just email your address.

Yeah, granny, I am feeling a little under the weather. Maybe tomorrow I'll spend all day gardening and preserving, while making bread with one hand, stirring compost into my already perfect beds with the other, effortlessly showering baked goods onto my children and appreciating my cats. Hahahahahaha. Then I'll wake up.

kitsapFG said...

The indigo is such an interesting project. I hope you will report back on the final use of the dyed fiber so we can see how the color variations worked out in the finished cloth.

Lucky you to get an opportunity to harvest from another garden in addition to your own! And, congratulations on getting to plant up your new beds!

el said...

Now you've done it: my 5 year old was sitting on my lap when we looked at this post and she wants me to grow indigo so we can dye some wool. The school's sheep have lots of wool, see, and her class has gone through the whole process (including spinning) but their dyes tend to be...kool-aid! How horrific is that!

Susan said...

The wool looks fantastic. I saw this today and thought of you and that counter full of produce.

The garden

The kale's
puckered sleeve,
the pepper's
hollow bell,
the lacquered onion.
Beets, borage, tomatoes.
Green beans.

I came in and I put everything
on the counter: chives, parsley, dill,
the squash like a pale moon,
peas in their silky shoes, the dazzling
rain-drenched corn.


Mary Oliver

Ribbit said...

Lovin' the Swift allusion! The dyed fiber isn't too shabby either.