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Suitable Northern Hemisphere fiber crop for burlap/jute substitute?

 
Patrick Winters
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I was surprised to discover that burlap, one of the most humble and omnipresent fibers for use around the farm, is grown in South Asia. With all the uses for burlap in agriculture, it's hardly very permie to buy it shipped from the far side of the world. What local fiber crops could be used as an effective substitute? Hemp canvas seems far too strong and intensive for burlap's disposable and under-appreciated applications, not to mention it's still illegal in the US. Would rough flax fibers discarded for textile production be useful? What other local fiber crops, perhaps under the radar like Indian Hemp, could be used in the place of jute?
 
Judith Browning
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I think Paul might say nettles. Nettles along with hemp, rami, flax, jute and kenaf are what are called bast fibers, meaning the fiber comes from the stem of the plant. The likely one to grow in th US to replace jute for burlap would be nettles I guess but I don't have any first hand knowledge. Flax along with hemp and maybe all bast fibers don't need super fertile ground or have problems with pests. For some reason linen (flax) yarn was extremely expensive when I was weaving with it. Most of the processes for making bast fibers into yarn/twine are either very labor intensive or use chemcal means to achieve the end product.
I am glad you brought this up, I had been wanting to research nettles as a fiber and this reminded me to do it.

What are you using burlap for? I've found uses for coffee sacks when we have had them but not on a regular basis.
 
duane hennon
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kenaf is the plant burlap is made from
there are varieties that grow in northern USA

see thread here;
http://www.permies.com/t/16403/plants/kenaf-cover-crop

google will also bring up videos
 
Judith Browning
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My Textile book is from 2002 and says that jute is used for burlap...coffee bags, etc and kenaf is " being investigated by U.S. researchers as a source of paper fiber and in blends with cotton." and is produced in Central Asia, India, Africa, and some Central American countries.
I didn't know it was grown here. I'll read the thread you posted.

wikipedia says burlap is made from jute and sisal.
 
Bobby Clark Jr
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Location: Lamar County Mississippi
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Kenaf will grow anywhere cotton or okra will grow as it is kin folks. I have grown kenaf in Tennessee and now in south Mississippi. Seed is available on eBay. My kenaf plants went over 20' this past year! I have not tried to make anything with it yet. Rachel Boone, aka Mrs Daniel Boone, found that nettles would replace flax when the settlers of Kentucky ran out of flax.
 
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