Indigo Harvest

12 pounds of indigo was harvested on Wednesday, August 9.

The weight included both stalks and leaves. I wasn't able to get an exact weight, my scale was too small to support any bucket I had available. Since I'm drying the leaves before fermentation the weight at this point is not important. Just satisfying.

In my previous post I talked about nitrogen deficiency in the soil and how I was coping with it. Following the layer of compost I put down in July my plants lost the red present in their leaves an returned to a healthy color.

However, by August the red was starting to return to the edges of mature leaves. To combat this I added watered down fish emulsion to the soil. I have seen other indigo growers use foliar feeding with this mixture (sprayed directly onto plants), but under some recommendations from a farmer I opted to add it to the soil. The red did not spread any further into the leaves, so I was satisfied for now.

Indigo grows in such a cool way. There is the main “mother” stem that first appears when starting seedlings. It then heavily leans over, sends out roots and buckles down. Once buckled down, the top of the “mother” stem straightens out and from the stalk, where these feeder roots have rooted, and new stalks start coming out.

These “mother” stalks were averagely 24” each from soil to tip. Very woody stems that are a deep deep maroon, there are nodes every inch with all sizes of leave growing from. This current crop has not grown in height over the past two weeks, I believe it has reached its peak. Had I tilled the soil deeper I know that my stalks would have grown taller.


I spoke with Graham Keegan via email since I was a little timid to harvest the plants before their leaves reached 7". According to his resource best to harvest when stalks are 35" long and leaves are 7”. My leaves were between 4-6” and were not going to budge. However, he said to go for it! I'm assuming the age of the plants, presence of indican, etc. are good enough reasons to go for it. And it's better to have two crops than one I think!

The leaves were laid out in the glass house and the following morning were already turning a beautiful blue/green.

I left the leaves through the weekend since it was very humid and rainy. Will throw the plants in a whicker hamper for storage until I ferment them. Some leaves were not harvested for a test fresh leaf vat.