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Dye allotment

I have been meaning to get to grips with my dye allotment this year, but Spring has come (and gone, judging from the weather) and I just haven’t found the time to get up there…

The woad I grew last year has started flowering on towering stalks, and to avoid this becoming a complete pest to my neighbour allotment holders, I decided to cut it all down and use it as a weed-suppressant mulch on some of the other beds.

Using cut woad flowers as a nutrient rich mulch

Using cut woad flowers as a nutrient rich mulch

As woad has a deep tap root it accumulates lots of minerals which become available to more shallow-rooted plants when it rots down. This to me perfectly justifies my slightly lazy approach to gardening. Also, I’ve noticed that woad tends to spread from the roots, so lots of little baby woad plants are ready to take up the space of the ones I’ve cut down.

Woad plant recovering after removing flower heads

Woad plant recovering after removing flower heads

The other plants I’m growing this year are weld and madder, along with a fine selection of thistles, dandelions and other weeds…

Weld seedlings waiting to be planted out

Weld seedlings waiting to be planted out

Madder in its second Spring

Madder in its second Spring

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