Wednesday, 29 September 2010


We did our first big sowing of Linseed/Flax this year. About 3 by 100 foot strips. Quite a learning curve there..
Flax is a really tough plant which makes it great for linen and other uses but also makes it really hard to harvest!

Turns out if you are harvesting just for the linen you can pull the plants up when still green, but if you want the seeds then you cut them when they are dry. This has two problems: one is the Formerly cute little finches turn into a whirring plague and devour half your crop, and two: Flax is so tough it blunts the scythe every two or three sweeps!

So after a hard day cutting and piling the flax we had half a trailer of the stuff, so now what to do with it?

Methods varied from
beating over a chair: dramatic but messy
mashing with a rolling pin: slow but effective
jumping on it:effective but tiring
rubbing with feet:seems to be the quickest

So we have to count the yield as the seed needs to be cleaned properly, we will probably throw it up on a sheet and separate the seed from the chaff, good old biblical expression there. Once you start growing grain you realise how many expressions derive from harvesting.

Now we are looking at sowing  "Grafton" oats and "Maris Widgeon" (what a great name!) wheat


  1. good points and the details are more specific than elsewhere, thanks.

    - Thomas

  2. Thanks Thomas! I don't see many people doing grain on this scale so it's all a big learning curve, glad it was of some use.

  3. Flax seeds are a great benefit for health, no wonder the finches love them. Smart little birds. Can you sell the seeds as locally grown organic?

    Quite the experiment in processing. I imagine that you covered several centuries of techniques.


  4. HI mari, yep it was an interesting process, we probably don't have enough to sell but maybe next year!