Woad has a long history of use as a blue dye (along with indigo) up until the 20th century, when it was supplanted with the use of synthetic dyes. While it is well known as a colorant, it is less familiar as a medicinal which is useful during cold and flu season. Woad is a biennial that will easily self-sow and become invasive. Remove flower shoots after blooming in its second year or bag seed heads to control the dispersion of seed. Plants will grow to 3'-4' in all directions and can provide multiple harvests of leaves throughout the growing season. It is said that the plant will grow back if you remove the leaves above the crown. Woad is potentially allelopathic meaning it may hamper the growth of other species so don’t plant near other crops
These seeds are fresh from our 2021 harvest.
Soak seeds overnight in tepid water and sow about 1/8" deep in moist soil, pressing to keep seed snug. Keep soil moist and warm (65°F) and it will usually germinate within 7-10 days. Prick out seedlings to grow on in individual pots or cells. Plant outdoors in well-drained soil after the last spring frost.
Makes Blue Dye
According to some sources, Woad may produce better blues if given high-nitrogen fertilizer, such as composted manure or bloodmeal. First year plants are also thought to produce better blues, but this is highly subjective.
To read about making a blue dye from Woadread here and here
To read about Woad as a medicinal and to learn how to make a tincture, please see herbal academy’s article here.
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