Back on Sunday April 29th and Monday April 30th I set up one-foot-square grids in my flax beds. I used sticks to stake out the one-foot increments, and flagging tape to outline the edges. They are not perfectly square, but it’ll do. At each plot (Small Ones Farm, Amethyst Farm, and the community garden at Amethyst Brook) I used a different color flagging tape for each variety, but didn’t plan ahead enough to use the same color for each variety at each place. That would have been handy, but too late now. As you might suspect, it is hard to tell from a photo of little green plants just exactly which variety of seed or section of a plot I am looking at. So, I thought the color coding would help differentiate photos back at home when I’ve downloaded them onto the computer and am figuring out which is which. I also wrote labels on the flagging tape, but it twists around sometimes so they aren’t clear in every photo. Each grid is four feet square (the width of the bed, and four feet in length), divided into 16 sections. I took a photo of each section. I have a total of 7 beds, which multiplied by 16 is a lot of photos of little green plants. One hundred and twelve, to be exact. That is too many for one post. It actually has crossed my mind that perhaps not everyone will be interested in looking at 112 photos of flax. But in the interests of documenting this project, I’ve decided to post them all, divided between several posts.
I set up the grids because I wanted a more quantifiable way to measure the germination rates of the different seed varieties, and to count how many plants were growing in each square foot. Mostly what this exercise taught me is that my sowing technique is terrible. I have clumps and bare patches in an extremely uneven pattern. Sigh. Raking did not help at all, so I will omit that step in future. In fact I think many of the ridges where there is a density of plants were created by the edge of the rake. So, there is a lot more to learn about that step of the process. Honestly, I think this season was my worst broadcasting job ever, but then again I have never scrutinized every step of the process so closely.
This post features the variety Evelin (an untreated variety from Richters in Canada) planted at Small Ones Farm in South Amherst. The photos were taken April 29th, and are labeled with the variety, the location, and a number 1 to 16. The squares in the grid are numbered from left to right, starting in the row on the near side of the bed and moving to the back. That is,1 is in the bottom left hand corner, and 16 is in the top right corner. They are posted in order from 1 to 16.