in progress: garden & dye

While other people were preparing to be Raptured, I was preparing to dye.

I decided a while ago to try copper-penny dyeing, as something to hold me over until all my plants grow up. Instructions on the internet are multiple and don’t always agree, so I decided to take the basics (copper, acid/base, time) and wing it.

Some folks use (pre-1982)pennies, some use copper pipe, some use copper scrubbies. It seems like, providing that they’re all pure or mostly-pure copper, the only difference would be in the surface area. Does that matter? I have no idea, but I decided to test it. Since I only have two large glass jars, I decided not to bother with the pipe.

It’s science, people. Science that’s fun.

Three Scotch-Brite copper scrubbies. These aren’t 100% copper, they’re plated over a core of something magnetic, probably steel. I didn’t realize that when I bought them, but oh well. I’m not sure if anyone makes 100% copper scrubbies anymore. According to our kitchen scale, these weigh fifty-four grams.

Fifty-three grams of pre-1982 pennies. Close enough!

The scrubbies and the pennies each went into their own jar, along with three cups of white vinegar and one cup of water. I don’t have any ammonia, and I’d also like to use these jars again.

That extra thing in the penny jar is a plastic sandwich bag with holes poked in it so the liquid can flow around. I figured it would be easier to retrieve than trying to pick the pennies out one by one.

The jars are now sitting in the basement on top of the water heater. When I was reading up on copper dyeing online, most folks mentioned leaving their jars in a sunny place– but it’s been raining for the past week here and forecasted to continue. So, on top of the water heater they go, since that’s at least somewhat warm. As of tonight I can’t see a change in them, but it’s only been a week.

Meanwhile, in the garden . . .

The hop grows apace. It really seems to love the cool wet weather we’ve been having. I had to attach it to the line for a few days until it got the idea, but now it’s twining up and around like nobody’s business.

The sunflowers and their attendant marigolds continue to grow. I’m still not sure that the sunflowers are strong enough to support their own weight yet, so I’m leaving them tied up for a while.

The japanese indigo, amaranth, and woad haven’t progressed much past the seedling stage yet, so I don’t have any pictures of those.

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