Wednesday, 4 June 2008

more woad pictures

For an agonising ten or so days only one woad seed had sprouted, but now of the five pots/ten seeds I still have here five are growing (one since thinned out). My friend Helen took in the other forty or so pots a few weeks ago to grow them on for me. They're in her greenhouse at the moment.

It's years since I've grown anything from seed and as I seemed to do OK before without too much effort, was panicking that something I'd done was wrong and I'd end the summer with no woad to dye with at all! Only a couple germinated at Helen's too and after analysing possible reasons, we decided we were being too precious with them, trying too hard, taking too much care and concern. My pots go out on the windowsill when I'm here but come inside at night, only because I worry they might be blown off! It was a mistake to start them growing inside the house - the first spent so long straining for the light that its stem is ridiculously long. I had tried to counter this by turning the pot by 180 degrees but won't again. The others are faring better by being outside from an early age, and from the pots being tilted to the light when inside. Ten days ago at Helen's I saw a good number of sprouts.

The difference in timing has surprised me and pleased me. Surprise as I assumed if conditions were right - light, warmth, moisture and whatever else makes seeds tick - all would come up within a few days. That they don't is great - they demonstrate the resilience of nature! Spreading your bets must give better chances than blowing it all on one seemingly good day. With woad's determination to do its own thing and not conform I feel confident we will have a great relationship!

images - the top one is from 20 May at 11 days old, the last from 30 May at 21 days old. It's my impression that the younger sprouts are producing new leaves faster, maybe because they weren't wasting time spurting stem, or maybe in response to climatic conditions. The point is that 21 days may be exceptional for this first sprout to be starting on its fifth pair of leaves.

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