Growing Indigo in Cleveland
There have been a handful of individuals in the Cleveland area growing small amounts of indigo for their own home-dye uses ( Drift Lab Textile Co., Morgan Conservatory). But when we got wind of Praxis Fiber Workshop's plans to grow +3000 indigo plants in an abandoned lot north of Waterloo Arts District, we were beyond excited! And what's more, Jess Pinsky (founder of Praxis) is aiming to make this dye garden a true community effort!
After securing a plot of land, Pinsky worked with Cleveland Seed Bank to help grow the indigo babies and then reached out to the community to be a part of the planting process.
Praxis has also planted Amaranth and Marigold along the perimeter of the dye garden.
Why +3000 plants, you may ask? How will anyone ever use that much indigo? It is a good question. Light blues and greens may be achieved with fresh leaf indigo. However, if you're after that deep, rich indigo, it is necessary to reduce the indigo through a composting process. If you've ever composted leaves before, you know that essentially they shrivel up and become almost weightless.
Long story short, a LOT of indigo has to be grown and composted in order for the compost pile to generate enough heat to properly break down the indigo. This will be Praxis' first year growing and composting indigo, and they have invited us to be a part of their learning journey as they learn under one of our own personal heroes, Roland Ricketts. We couldn't be more excited to follow along and report back!