Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Making Sukumo / Composting Indigo Leaves

Three straw bags bursting full of indigo leaves have fermented in straw bags under wheat straw and oak leaves for two months now. I'm back from Sri Lanka and back to work. It was time to mix up the fermenting leaves and make sure they haven't rotted but composted just the right amount.

We dug them out from their cozy home in the fermentation box and combined them together into one straw mat. The fermentation was not even. There were dry areas and wet areas. We hand shredded and remixed all the 80% composted blue ammonia strength indigo muck and packed it tightly into a new straw mat for the final week of fermentation. Looks like it will be another good 20kg of fermented sukumo Japanese indigo. It will be fermented again in the indigo vats this summer and be used to dye.  (Yes, that is Kate Marshall from Australia visiting for a few days! Great timing Kate!)

We are packing it in tightly and quickly to get it back in the fermentation box. A single fly laying eggs in it and we will get small maggots. Yuck. 

And finally some heavy grindstones placed on top to keep the oxygen out and the compost compressed.

It was warm enough for Ogata san to do some indigo dyeing. She has been stitching and working on this piece for a month or so.


  1. all that hard work in one little pile of compost, amazing! great to see Ogata-san still working hard.

  2. beautiful ogata-san textile!