Last summer I experimented with growing my own fiber plants. I grew cotton and Flax then documented my process here. I learned a lot from this experience and plan on using what I have learned this year to increase my yields.
Here is what I learned from last year
Start on time or early
Last year I started really late even for the Colorado growing season which meant that my plants had a late start and they weren’t too happy about the hot summer days. The cotton didn’t mind the heat because this plant is a warm climate plant used to long growing seasons. However because our season is so short, I had to bring my cotton to a green house to let it finish growing. This year I planted all my seeds right after mother’s day.
By more seeds than you need
Flax is a plant with a very small footprint. You need a lot of flax plants to get enough fiber to spin, which means you need to buy lots of seeds. Last year I bought a pound of seeds and sowed a three by five plot. All of the flax plants were very spread out and were in competition with weeds. This year I have smaller plot and I am mixing my flax seeds with some that I found at my local health food store to fill in the gaps that my fiber flax seeds don’t fill.
Don’t forget to weed
Weeds were a big problem with my flax plot last year. I had a hard time keeping bindweed from attacking my flax. To fix this problem, this year I have increased the amount of seeds that I will be sowing and will try mulching with straw.
With the successes I had with the cotton plants I have planted more of them in pots and all around my yard. Our season might be too short to allow for the plants that are out of pots to produce but who knows, I might be pleasantly surprised. I can’t wait to see what new things I will learn this year.