Growing Flax for Fiber

I love it when two nerdy habits intersect- here, gardening intersecting with love of fibery, knitty, spinny stuff. I ordered some flax seed from Pinetree Garden seeds- these are slightly different from the flax seeds that get added to smoothies for their nutritional properties- the varieties used for seed production are different from the variety used for making yarn. The Latin is Linum Usisittissimum- I love it when the Latin name of a plant is so transparent- “useful,” anyone?

herbal image from "C of Books"

I’ve soaked the seeds overnight, and cleared a little spot in the xeric bed that doesn’t currently have anything in it. I scraped away the mulch, and chopped up the soil a little.  I sprinkled the seed, and now I need to keep it moist for… 20-25 days til it germinates.What? That really seems like a long time- probably not a typo on the seed packet, though. If it were a wetter spring, I wouldn’t be so worried, but it has been super dry here, so it has to be me with a watering can until they get established.

The flowers may be either blue or white, on 3-4 foot tall plants, with light, feathery leaves.

At the end of the summer, I’ll pull the plants, and learn how to process them- I’ve already seen some videos made by a living history museum, there seems to be a lot of pounding involved. Can’t wait!


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