Description. Flax is an annual plant from the Linaceae family, it has been growing on our territory for thousands of years. But the birthplace of this plant is India. Currently, more than 200 species are known, and there are about 40 in our region. There are several names for flax seed: shale, long-stalked flax or cultural flax. The stem is erect, thin, about 50 cm high, branched at the top. The leaves are narrow, lanceolate, about 5 cm long. The stem and leaves are covered with a wax coating. Flowers 2-3 cm in diameter, collected in the inflorescences-umbrellas, usually of blue color, but there occurs pink and white colors.
Flax flowers are self-fertile, and after flowering a box with 10 seeds is formed. Seeds are flat, round in shape, shiny, yellow, reddish black or brown in color.
Flax varieties are divided by the period of vegetation into early vegetation ones with a vegetation period of up to 80 days and late vegetation ones, up to 110 days.
The plant grows best on moist loamy soils of medium density, which are loose enough and are well permeable. It grows worse on sandy soils, but heavy clay and acid soils are not suitable for flax growing.
Flax is an unpretentious plant, but still needs dry and warm weather during the ripening season.
Flax is to be sowed in April. Early sowing is preferable, because the seeds in this case have time to use the maximum amount of moisture in the soil, and the plants are less affected by diseases. It should be planted at a depth of 3 cm. It does not frighten of the temperature drop, its seeds can also germinate at a temperature of 2°C. The plot needs to be prepared in advance - to introduce organics (humus). You can also use EM-preparations in the growing process, as they will improve the soil structure.
Flax blossoms in June and July, and the ripening of seeds occurs in the next two months. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers are used for flax feeding.
Application. Large farms cultivate flax as a technical crop.
Flax has many useful properties. A valuable linen fabric is still produced from its fibers; besides, flax is a good precursor for many crops, its cultivation improves the structure of the soil, because its roots and stem contain a large number of useful microelements that pass into the soil, therefore it partly performs a function of green manure crop. As a decorative plant it is planted in rock gardens, on flower beds, in separate groups.
Flax seeds are also used in the bakery industry, it is used in preparation of linseed oil, varnish-and-paint products, oilcloth, oil, which is used for preparation of cosmetic creams, is obtained from it. Seed cake, left from seed processing, is used as animal fodder.
After squeezing out the oil, the seed cake and meal are left, which are used to feed cattle, they are considered to be one of the best preparations for fodder. Flax seeds and oil obtained from them are widely applicable in medicine, as well as in dietology.