So Far So Good-Flax 2019

We have had a relatively cool and rainy spring here in western MA. Good flax-growing weather, at least for this phase of the growth cycle.

I planted on April 19th, which was a Friday. There was a lot of rain the following week, so I didn’t have to water. I tried to be patient, and waited until April 27th to check on the germination, eight days later. I got excellent germination! Here’s the exciting flush of green across the whole bed:

I guess I was worried about sowing too close to the edge of the plot, so it’s totally bald at the edges:

Here’s a close up of the plants busting through the soil. They’re pretty crowded:

Maybe I should have planted less densely. We’ll see.

On the whole, the weather stayed cool and wet for the first couple weeks, though we had some warm and sunny days. Here’s the plot on May 5th (Sunday):

Those bald edges are even more prominent, which illuminates the fact that my planting density is actually a tad higher than I thought. Out of a five foot bed, I sowed more like four feet. OK.

Here are the chipper-looking seedlings doing their thing two weeks after planting:

Most recently, I checked on the plot on Sunday May 19th. We had a bit more sun and warmer temperatures last week. The vivid green of flax is such a cheering sight. Exuberant! Uplifting! Joyous! Buoyant!

Here’s a closer view of the plants that morning:

I remain cautiously optimistic.

Japanese Indigo Seeds 2019

Back in April I cleaned up some Japanese indigo seeds from plants I grew in 2017.

Here’s the little bag I stored them in as I cleaned them:

On April 7th I put them inside damp paper towels to sprout, as I’ve done before. You can read about earlier Japanese indigo sprouting efforts in my earlier posts here and here.

Here’s what one hundred Japanese indigo seeds looks like:

From what I’ve read and experienced, Japanese indigo seeds do not stay viable for long. You’re supposed to use them in the next growing season. if you try to store them longer than that, expect poor results. Since I do not plant Japanese indigo every year, my germination rate is always pretty low. I set up a sheet with 100 seeds to make the math easy.

This year I bought a seedling mat to keep them warm. I thought it might help with germination. Here’s the type I bought:

Here’s how I set it up:

The mat certainly worked to keep things toasty. In fact, I added a towel on top of the mat to keep the seeds off the direct heat. But as it turned out, I got way too impatient to wait for the seeds to sprout on the paper towels.