Thursday, May 23, 2024

The Birth of Two Crops!

May 23

Update on my personal linen flax plot

My linen flax crop is now one month old and growing vigorously. It started out slowly, probably due to the cooler weather when it germinated, but now it is growing at a rate of about an inch a day! We are getting pretty regular rainfall, so I've rarely needed to water the plot. The air temperature has been gradually getting warmer, but overall, we have had a cooler spring. Both are keen factors in growing happy linen flax. Yesterday, the longest stalks measured 6 inches in height, and today, they are 7 inches. One inch a day? Wow! Happy flax! 

Image of flax stalks with measuring stick showing 7 inches in height.

I kept the plot regularly weeded until about two weeks ago when the majority of the stalks were getting too tall for such disturbance. The plot is pretty weed-free at this point. The area that was somewhat washed out by an early plot flooding has not been lost. It is simply a bit behind in growth. So, somehow, the seeds remained in place even with the flooding. Perhaps that is also a factor of the careful raking that I did during the sowing. It is interesting to see the seeds are so vigorous, even under duress.

My ongoing concern is that my plot does not have continuous sunlight throughout the day, especially now that the trees have fully leafed out. I guess I will have to wait and see if that becomes a factor in the overall stalk length. Having the Gale Woods flax to compare it to (they planted the same Avian variety of linen flax, but in full sunlight) will be interesting.

Image of Blue Flax flower in grasses

A side note:
I planted a perennial variety of flax (Blue Flax) a few years ago, and it is already in bloom! This variety has multiple branches with multiple flowers, is quite short at its full height (maybe 10 inches tall), and, therefore, is not a good linen fiber flax. It is found in garden centers and is the type of flax you can commonly find in a seed packet. But it is still very beautiful!



Update on the Gale Woods Farm linen flax plot 

The seeds sown at Gale Woods Farm started to pop through the soil at around the 7-day mark. 

Small linen flax seedlings in plot at Gale Woods.

Now, they are two weeks into their growth, and some are developing their second and third leaf sets. Some areas have been slower to germinate, probably due to being raked deeper in the soil, but even those areas now have seedlings that are starting to emerge. I expect that in one more week, most of the crop will be well on its way. The bulk of the plants are at the height of a first weeding, so today, I went over to the farm to weed them. 

People on hands and knees pulling out weeds from flax plot.

Happily, the crew that was part of the seed sowing was there, and they came over to help weed the plot. What a wonderful help they are! It was weeded in no time. The worst of the weeding right now is with large thistle plants that are really trying to make their mark in the plot. I suspect we will be dealing with those nasty guys for a while. I will return next week to do another weeding and check the flax stalk growth.



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