I ordered the modern fibre flax variety Callista to work with, simply because of it’s availability.
After the soil was readily prepared (you can read the story of preparing it here) I would sow the top 5 patches broadly, the traditional method of sowing flax. Sowing broadly means, to throw the amount of seeds by hand onto the patch and then work the seeds under the soil with a rake. I used 15% more seeds on these patches, because I read that some seeds will germinate on the surface and eventually dry out or get eaten by birds.
The other 5 patches were sown in rows, each row had 1,4g of seeds, which – looking back now – was too little. It should have been at least 1,5g to achieve a good density of plants (bigger density = finer fibres). As said in the previous post, I decided to experiment with farming methods. Here is how I worked on and with the patches until the harvest.
- sown broadly, no weeding
- sown in rows, no weeding
- sown broadly, weeding
- sown in rows, weeding
- sown broadly, weeding, early harvest (right after flowers faded)
- sown in rows, weeding, early harvest (right after flowers faded)
- sown broadly, no weeding, brushwood against storm damage
- sown in rows, weeding, support structure against storm damage
- sown broadly, weeding, comparison field with more shade
- sown in rows, no weeding, black plastic foil (against weeds)
Read here how the flax developed over the course of the next 71 days.