Yarn Garden

While I will admit, I’ve taken mine in the direction of fancy, a fiber garden doesn’t require a lot of space. And it doesn’t have to adhere to a grid layout. In fact, my standard advice applies here. Experiment.

I live in zone 6 and in my garden I’ve got cotton, flax, madder, onion, turmeric, marigolds, yarrow, beetroot, st. john’s wort, and mint. Except for the flax, which takes up its own eight square foot space, everything is tucked among my other herbs and vegetables.

For plants like the cotton and turmeric, which require a warmer environment than what zone 6 usually offers, I start the plants indoors two months early and baby them until temperatures don’t fall below 50°F. Then they go into the garden.

If I get a prolific crop of one thing, I plant something different the next year for variety. I dry dye plants and store them in paper bags to use over the winter.

I have some friends who live in apartments, too. They look at me like I’m nuts. My “small garden” is a pipe dream. But one 6-10 inch pot can hold a marigold or a few onions. You don’t have to grow ALL THE THINGS to have a satisfying fiber garden.

One of my genius friends has this setup for her herbs. She’s got hanging grids near her kitchen window with plants spaced to fit. To supplement the light, she’s hung a few grow lights up top. Space conscious, easy to maintain. It just took a bit of creativity on her part.

There is something incredibly satisfying about making a textile and knowing where your fiber and dye comes from. It is even more satisfying to put in the labor, to be a part of every step of the process. To know a sheep is divine. To create a yarn from the very earth we stand on is akin to unraveling the mysteries of the universe.


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