Sharing story of woad at Algarkirk and Moulton

Carol's strawberries.
Carol's strawberries.
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A regular column by freelance Spalding artist and allotment holder Carol Parker.

It’s not just me that’s confused by the weather: my strawberries are fruiting again and the spring flowering Clematis armandii is covered in buds ready to burst into autumn flower!

Not that I’m complaining; it’s beautiful waking up to a bright sky every day but you kind of know they’ll be a payback somewhere along the line – worst winter in living memory coming up maybe?

I’ve not been paying due care and attention to my plot this year; instead of regular visits, it’s been random ones to weed and harvest and I’m paying the price. Broccoli that was left uncovered has been eaten alive and the ruby chard went to seed due to lack of judicious watering.

But I have been rewarded with the most amazing crop of sweetcorn which obviously appreciated my style of neglected growing. I’m very proud of myself as I’ve never grown it before: a definite must for next year.

So what’s kept me away from my digging? A successful Heritage Lottery grant to research woad growing in Lincolnshire that’s what. The Blue Mill Project is a partnership between Moulton Windmill, textile artist Angela Daymond and myself. Since August we’ve been researching and sharing information through presentations, demonstrations and practical workshops.

Woad is a plant that gives a blue dye and was grown in Lincolnshire until 1932. All that remains of this important and economically valuable crop are street and pub names, such as Woad Farm Road, and a few woad artefacts.

The Blue Mill Project will create a ‘hub’ of information sited at Moulton Windmill, so that this important part of our county’s heritage can be experienced and shared. Angela and myself are delivering ‘woad days’ at various venues.

On Thursday, October 8 we demonstrated woad dyeing and gave a short presentation at Algarkirk Church.

This weekend – October 16, 17 and 18 – there will be a Woad Fest at Moulton Windmill with lots of free activities for all ages and much music, dancing and joviality!

We’d also love to have your stories or memories of woad growing. If you can’t make Woad Fest visit our website and send us a message.

Read more... Art on the Spalding allotment