Monday, August 6, 2012

green finger tips - flax or linseed

Getting to know Flax

Flax or Linseed is a fantastic plant to grow in the organic garden. It is a versatile plant which improves the soil and provides nutritious seed for human and animal consumption.

The botanical name is Linum usitatissimum

Growing Linseed

Linseed's shiny brown seeds are easy to grow. Broadcast the seed and water well. The seedlings should come up in 3 or 4 days. The flax plants in the first picture are about a month old.

The plants grow up to a meter in height. After the purple-blue flowers blossom, the seeds start to form in papery husks. When the husk are straw-coloured, the seeds have formed inside.

Linseed's uses

Linseed is said to deters potato bug. It helps to makes clay soil friable and is generally used as a green manure plant. Flax's stems are used for making paper and linen. Artists use linseed oil in oil painting and it is widely used as a wood protection. The most facinating thing about linseed is that it is used in the manufacture of linoleum.

Flax's Companion Plants

Flax grows well with potatoes and carrots. It makes a useful stakes for climbing peas.

Linseed's medicinal uses

Linseed is a well known laxative. A poultice of linseed will help draw out boils.
Linseed oil added to the diet in combination with cheese or yoghurt is great for easing creaking joints in the body.

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