If you eat healthily then it’s possible that you may have bought flax seeds from your local store to use as part of your diet.
If you’re a gardener then there is also every chance that you may have wondered whether you can plant these store bought seeds and would they grow?
Store bought flax seeds can be planted at home and will grow well in good, well drained soil or in containers so you can grow this healthy crop on a balcony or small garden. Keep the plants well watered and they will reward you with a plentiful harvest of seeds.
Flax has been cultivated for centuries and was one of the first plants to be grown as a textile crop, the fibres from the plant being used to make linen cloth.
The plant is also high in Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients so it’s well worth growing.
The seeds are easy to harvest and can be used whole or ground into a meal.
They have a mild nutty flavour and are a good addition to smoothies, yoghurts or baking.
You can also use them to add to hot drinks such as lattes or mochas.
So, if you want to add a little more Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet or just want to try your hand at growing a healthy crop, then why not plant some flax seeds from the store?
It’s easy and they will grow well in most parts of the country.
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When should flax seed be sown?
Flax can be directly sown into the garden when the soil has warmed to at least 18°C (64°F).
If you’re growing flax in cooler climates, it’s best to start the seeds indoors a few weeks before the last frost.
When transplanting, make sure to give each plant plenty of space as they will grow quite tall.
If you’re growing flax in containers, use a soil mix that drains well.
Flax doesn’t do well in soils that are too wet or soggy.
How do you germinate flax seeds?
Prepare the area where you want to plant your seeds by carefully raking it over, removing any stones and other debris so that you create a fine tilth suitable for sowing seeds.
Water the soil lightly then sow the seeds and cover them with about half an inch of soil.
Keep the soil moist but not wet and watch for signs of germination which will be around 10 to 15 days.
Sowing flax seeds in containers
If you are restricted for space then flax seeds can be sown in containers.
Use a soil based compost and make sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom.
Water the compost then sow the seeds, cover with half an inch of soil and water again.
Keep moist but not wet and wait for germination which should take around 10 to 15 days.
When the plants are large enough to handle, transplant them into larger pots.
Keep the pots in a sheltered spot that gets plenty of light and allow the plants to develop keeping well watered throughout.
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How to harvest flax seeds
Flaxseed takes around 90 to 110 days to mature and be ready for harvest.
The plant will first flower – the flowers can be a variety of colours – blue, white or pink and, after the flowers have died back, the seeds will develop.
The ‘pods’ will turn yellow and will begin to crack and this is the sign that they are ready to be harvested.
Remove the pods and allow them to dry out, after which you can break them open to remove the flax seeds.
Harvest time is typically around August but this will depend on time of sowing and local weather conditions.
Is it hard to grow flax?
No, flax is an easy plant to grow and is tolerant of a range of soil types.
Once planted, flax will grow quite tall so make sure you give it plenty of space when transplanting or sowing in containers.
It’s also important to keep the plants well watered.
In most parts of the country, flax will grow well with very little care.
Store bought flax seeds are easy to grow and will produce a range of flowers in your garden followed by fat pods where the seeds develop.
The seeds are an easy way to add Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients to your diet and can be used in all sorts of recipes.
Flax is also a drought tolerant plant that grows well in most parts of the country, making it a great choice for the home gardener.
The next time you’re at the store, why not try picking up a pack of flax seeds and give them a go in your garden?
You might be surprised at how easy they are to grow.