Folk Fibers Blog


    Spring Has Sprung In Austin & So Have I !

    Six weeks ago I started 500 indigo seeds inside the JBG greenhouse. The JBG greenhouse still feels a little like my house, and Brent is so kind to continue to allow me access to the greenhouse. It is actually really easy to grow from seed if you have a well working greenhouse, sometimes it feels a little too easy, especially when you have a friend like Kim to water for you. If you don't watch yourself you can easily grow a ton of plants and your problem will be finding room for all of them.  I almost ran into that problem but luckily I managed to get every last plant into the ground, thank goodness because I was slightly worried for a minute. 

    I have secured myself a perfect growing area to start my Folk Fibers Dye Garden, and no it's not in my yard, but it is only a couple miles from my front door in East Austin over on Holly Street.  As some of you may already know I use to work at Johnson's Backyard Garden, and Brent Johnson started his (now 100+ acre) farm right in his backyard, and it's the same backyard that I am now starting my dye garden!  It's a special spot, insanely rich soil, and a great reminder that great things can come from starting small, like a seed!  I couldn't plant my entire dye garden in my yard mainly because my yard is too small and the steep contours cause water to run off into the streets.  Did I mention I grew 500 indigo plants!

    To prepare the soil I rented a mid-size tiller and went to town!  While I had the tiller I went ahead and tore up my yard too. I spread Texas wildflower seed over my entire yard as an experiment to finding an alternative to moving....I'll let you know how it goes!  

    Transplanting over these last few days have felt amazing, time consuming, but amazing!  I have been able to use skills I have acquired from working on farms from my past and apply them to my own vision and ideas.  The coffee sacks for example was a method of mulching that I learned on a farm in Philly.  La Colombe coffee roaster in Philly would supply us with 1000's of coffee sacks and we would cover acres of vegetable with rows of burlap sacks. The sacks are a fantastic way to suppress weeds, lock moisture into the soil, they are completely organic,attractive, and comfortable to kneel on when weeding!  So I called every roaster in town to get ahold of some sacks, unfortunately most sacks here in Austin are already taken or cost a couple dollars. It took some searching to find a roaster with free surplus, but sure enough I found one, if you don't mind I want to keep my source secret.  

    This is my first time growing indigo and I have dedicated this year to experimenting and learning everything about the plant, from how to grow it to how to dye with it.  This excites me greatly because I am an avid and thorough experimenter, and I am excited to share many future blog posts dedicated to my discoveries.  

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    • Jessica Pope says...

      So excited for you, Maura. Your shop is beautiful and those quilts are to die for! Good luck with the Indigo! I’ll keep checking in to see how things are growing! xo

      On March 14, 2012

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