Wednesday, May 29, 2013

flax connection

May has slipped away. It has been a busy month.

Most of it has been spent in the garden. The fence was repaired, new fruit trees were planted (plum, cherry and peach). Peas, lettuce, kale and new asparagus plants were sown early in the month and are growing well. The tomatoes and peppers and annual flowers that we started from seed in the green house, have been transplanted.

For those of you that follow this blog, you may know that I have previously raised textile flax, and processed it successfully. And as much as I wanted to try it again, I was frustrated because the only variety that was available to me was the one I had already grown. The seed type was from Holland and goes by the name, Marilyn.

By the time March had rolled around, I had pretty much given up on being able to obtain another variety of flax to grow this year. I was planning the garden, and know from experience that I should be sowing the seed in April. It takes about a hundred days from seed to harvest, and I had not found anyone who was offering flax seed for sale (other than Marilyn).

But with a little help from my friends, I was connected with a few people who have helped me to obtain some seed to sample. Many thanks to you! (and you know who you are!)

Although I am past the date when I would normally sow flax seed, I'm hopeful that it isn't too late. The unusual cool weather we have been having is good for something, in this case, germination.

About a week ago I planted a small plot of flax cultivar, Elektra, which is another cultivar from the Netherlands, and as reported from other field trials, scores high marks for fineness of the fiber, and good yields.

The seed was obtained by my friend about a year ago, so I am very please with the overall results of the germination!

Yesterday, much to my surprise, my request for seed from the USDA was approved, and I received a small amount (about 200 seeds) of a cultivar from Hungary. I am very excited to be growing this, and plan to sow it later today.

So, thanks to the help of others and all of you who have been patient with my whining and complaining and frustration about the importance of biodiversity and the lack of availability of textile flax cultivars in the United States in the year 2013! I am again growing some flax for linen. A very small amount of it, but enough to do a comparison and draw some conclusions.


Valerie said...

How cool is that! I wish you well on this adventure and look forward to seeing posts on the progress of this experiment.

BTW, my nigella are up out of the ground about an inch at the most. Wondering if yours sprouted? Judging by the iris, we are a bit behind you. I don't expect to see a full iris flower until the end of this week, judging by the buds.

I have hollyhocks galore, but the ones from you will likely not flower this year since they are a biennial. And there are foxgloves sprouting...again, I won't know which are from you and which may be "volunteers" until I see the color of the flower. They aren't biennials, are they?

Vlaďka Cepáková said...

I wish you success with growing of flax. And I look forward to whole proccess of processing flax.

Spring is very cold this year, but everything grows so well. I am happy in my garden!


Cathy said...

Oh - how exciting! I'm so looking forward to this year of posts from you!

knitmearchive said...

Fascinating to those of us who will never grow flax! Looking forward to your posts along the way.

15thcenturyspinning said...

ow exciting! Good luck with the flax, I'd love to grow some myself sometime. I think it would be a fantastic project to document for my living history, but then I'd want all the period tools to process it as well of course...

fiberjoy said...

Love your tenacity with flax! Hope both varieties all sprout and give you an abundant harvest. You might find yourself in flax propagating business someday.

Holland is a region in the Netherlands. You probably know this, but just in case. :)

Teri said...

Richters has a variety called Evelin:

I think there are a couple of other places that sell fiber flax (Bountiful Gardens has fiber flax, but doesn't list the variety.)

I've wanted to try growing it out here, because the Willamette Valley in Oregon was a big flax producing area. We tend to be a bit cooler up here, but it should still grow well.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You are having too much fun girl. Can't wait to hear the results of your project. Here's to a great growing season.

textilepractice said...

Hi Cyndy,

sorry for the late reply!
I just wanted to share the cultivar names of the fiber flax I am trying to grow in the garden.

Rigahör (Danish)
and 5 swedish sorts:
Svalöf Gerdalin

There are much more accessions of flax in the Nordic Gene bank, but not all of them are well-characterised, no information on wether they are oil or fiber sorts.
now the seed ordering is closed but the next spring you can order some. The usual amount is around 250 seeds (not much) per accession and an "organisation" (school, museum, breeder etc.) can order more different accessions (basically just everything from the database list) compare to private persons.

my flax is just starting to bloom, I am a total newbie to this, so we'll see how it goes :) Good like with yours! And thank you for finding and contacting me!


textilepractice said...

I meant good luck, not good like :)

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