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  • Jennifer is a self proclaimed country girl born and raised in Northern California. After joining social media, Jenny met a farmer from North Dakota. She followed her heart all the way to the rural prairies of ND where she is now married to that farmer. Besides spending time with her farmer, Jenny can be found with a camera in hand capturing the world around her, loves the challenges of bringing culture to the North Dakota prairie through a variety of culinary creations, and using her interior design degree to flip their bachelor pad into a home. All of this and more can be found on her photography blog: jldphotographblog.com.
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A Flax Update: Growing

by Jennifer_Dewey ‎08-22-2014 02:32 PM - edited ‎10-02-2014 03:49 PM

So I shared a while back about how we are growing a new crop on the farm... a crop of the past! Flax! And I am sure you all remember when I shared about standing in the ocean... The ocean of flax blooms. In case you missed it, let me remind you of the beauty... 

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Last time we left off on the flax journey... we talked about why we grow flax, what flax is used for, and the history of flax grown across the globe. This update, I would like to talk about how flax grows. 

 

So how does flax grow? 

Flax is an annual plant that has one main stem. Flax usually grows to a height of about 24 to 36 inches with a tap root that can penetrate to 40 inches if growing conditions are favorable. Flax requires a 50 day vegetative period, 25 day flowering period, and about 35 days to mature. 

 

Flax is a self-pollinated crop. Individual flowers open the first few hours after sunrise on clear, warm days, and by noon usually the petals will close up. Most varieties will have blue petals but petals may also be different shades of white, purple, or even pink. Once the plants are done blooming, the blooms will fall off and bolls will form. 

 

Seed is produced in what is called a boll or small round capsule. A full boll can have up to 10 seeds but typically averages around six to eight. Every bloom that is produced will become a boll with seeds. As the flax matures, it will turn from a green color to a yellow color. The seeds inside the bolls start white and as they mature turn brownish yellow. Flax is ususally deemed fully mature when 90 percent of the bolls turn brown and the stems turn yellow. 

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Where Can Flax Be Grown?

Flax does best grown on the same type of land that grows wheat or barley. Poorly drained soils, drought soils, and soils with lots of erosion should be avoided for growing flax. Flax fits well into a small grains rotation and should not be planted more than a one in three year rotation.

 

The North Central area also has moderate summer temperatures and rainfall which is sufficient flax. Flax yields tend to decrease as precipitation diminishes. Adequate moisture and relatively cool temperatures, particularly during the period from flowering to maturity, seem to increase oil content and quality in flaxseed. 

 

Our flax is just starting to turn or ripen. The seeds are starting to turn color from white and the stems are starting to turn yellow. Here's what it looks like now! Our next update will be all about harvest! Stay tuned! 

 

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