Flax, Linum usitatissimum, seeds are used whole, roasted and ground in cooking. This beautiful and delicate looking annual, I believe, deserves a place in any garden or landscape. It’s easy to grow in a sunny location and prefers cooler temperatures making a good early season crop.
Flax was one of the most important crops to early American farmers and to the economy of our emerging nation. Grown in almost every state east of the Mississippi River.
Flax was literally the fiber and preservative that helped sustain the early Europeans who brought flax to America from Europe. Before the spread of the mechanical cotton gin in the early 1800s, most Americans had a choice of two clothing fibers – wool or linen. Even after the advent of inexpensive cotton, linen fiber from the stems of flax would remain an important source of fiber for clothes and other products.
In addition to being a fiber source, flax was also an important oilseed in America until the mid-1900s. Linseed oil, squeezed out of flax seed, can still be found in most hardware stores and is used as a preservative finish on wood. Despite the valuable characteristics of both linseed oil and linen fiber, flax began to fade from American farms after the development of the petroleum industry, especially following World War II. Continue reading “Growing Flax: a story of beauty, health, prosperity and ruin” »
Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner, Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.
"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller