I have been growing woad for many years. I love it. It’s got some enemies, such as cabbage white caterpillars, and can get some diseases, such as clubroot. But mostly it’s easy going and reliable.
The second year woad at the dyeplant garden has been doing just fine. It started to bolt in April:
It got merrily taller:
It flowered prettily in May:
It set lots of seeds, and the seeds are maturing nicely now that it’s June:
The new woad that I planted this spring started out very well, too. I planted on April 24th. Here’s the bed on June 9th:
Here’s a particularly lush plant on the west end of the bed:
However, I noticed on June 8th that some of the plants were sending up little flower stalks already. Just a few of them, maybe two or three. This happens sometimes, so I made a note of it but I wasn’t too worried.
However, when I went to check on things yesterday I was baffled to discover that a lot of the plants have decided to make flowers. You can see that woad is a brassica by the distinctly broccoli-looking buds in this photo:
The plants are still short, but their growth habit is definitely changing. Here’s another view that shows the small leaves clasping the stalk, rather than just laying flat in a basal rosette:
Woad is a biennial and normally doesn’t bloom in the first year, hence my surprise. I have big plans for the woad this year, so I’m a little bit anxious about how this will all turn out.