Flax has long been a source of clothing fiber in the United States. Today its primary commercial purpose is to provide linseed oil from its seeds. Gardeners grow flax to get the benefits of its seeds in healthy dishes. Flax seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acid and can help reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and help provide regularity. Here is how to grow your own flax.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Start flax seeds indoors if you live in a northern region. Otherwise you can plant the seed early in the spring in your garden or flowerbed. If you live in a milder climate zone, you can plant flax in the fall and you should have flowers the next spring
Cover each seed with no more than 1/8 inch of garden soil or potting material. Flax plants like a rich soil so mix in some compost in the potting mixture as well.
Set each seed about a foot apart. The plants can be crowded a little bit but not much. You can plant the seeds closer initially and re-set them farther apart later in the season as well.
Grow flax in full sun for best results. Keep the plants moist but do not over-water them. Put mulch around the roots to help retain moisture during the hot, dry part of the summer.
Keep the flax plants pruned to promote air circulation around them. If necessary, transplant some flax plants to grow in another spot in the garden.
Apply fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Apply a fungicide as needed to protect the plants.
Harvest the seeds from the flax plant when approximately 90 percent of the seeds are brown. You can expect to still see several green leaves on the plant at that stage.