Growing flax 2021 – 2# sowing

As you could read in a January post (here) I made a planning for two flax fields, each three square meters in size, one of them having a lot of sunlight, one of them almost none because it’s situated behind the house. As you might recall: flax loves sunlight and doesn’t grow well in the shade (it becomes long and spindly). Originally I had planned to dig up both fields, in the end I dug up only field 2 (behind the house), because we live in a house considered “monumental building” which means there’s some restriction from the owner on what we can do in front of the house in terms of “view”. So I took that as a chance to test something else, namely sowing just on top of the mossy ground. I thought: this year is going to be one big “this is not good for flax” – approach anyway, so why not try?

Some other thought around my approach of this year: As said previously, the soil is extremely sandy here, making it not suitable for flax farming (flax is ideally grown on clay). But I can’t change the soil, so that’s point 1. Point 2 is, I am using fibre flax seeds from 2019. Not because I necessarily wanted to, but I just found it a waste to not use them, they are leftovers from my 2019 flax growing project. The variety is called Callista, I recently found out that it’s been pushed out of the industrial flax market because it’s yields weren’t good enough anymore. Point 3 is there’s a lot of wildlife here (which I love), that will probably enjoy picking the seeds, seedlings, plants or just stroll through the fields, that was one reason to increase the seeds/per m² in one testing section. After I had freshly dug up the field behind the house, I already found deer and cat tracks the next day. So that’s going to be interesting as well. Proof:

deer tracks on the field behind the house

However, I am super curious about the outcome. My motivation to do this, even though I don’t expect a big yield of fibres (maybe no yield at all), you might ask? I am curious, I love to discover and learn through chance and experimentation. I am hoping to come across new knowledge and alternative ways of farming. I do this type of experimental research to find out how I can grow my own garments, sustainably, with a low impact and chance to my (the) environment. Therefore I divided field one (in front of the house) and field two (back of the house) in three sections in which I would test different approaches again. What’s important to know is, that I treaded down the dug up soil again which is supposed to be better for the flax (better connection to groundwater/soil). Below you see a drawing of the sections I did sow:

thoughts: I put dyer’s woodruff together with the flax because I read somewhere that they can be grown well together. But I am wondering – dyer’s woodruff prefers shade, while flax the sun – how would that be a good combination? Maybe because the flax makes shade for the woodruff? No clue. I increased the amount of seeds on section 1C for two reasons: expecting that wildlife will feast on the seeds (because they’re laying nicely on top of the moss) and because I expect the germination rate to be lower (because the seeds can dry out faster)

I’ve been sowing 1,4 grams of seeds per 1 meter row, which is an average for receiving a good plant density on 31.03.2021. It might be that less seeds are germinating because the seeds are old, but I’ll see. Maybe I will do a plant count when they’re grown. That means I used 14 grams of seeds each section (again, might be too little because the seeds are old or wildlife eats them). However, I doubled the seeds on section 1C as described before. Today is the 9th of April and none of the seeds have germinated yet, which doesn’t come as a big surprise, because we’ve had zero degrees Celsius only 3 days ago. I’ll keep you updated!

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