Growing flax

The Flax to Linen, Victoria folk had the use of one acre of  land to grow our flax thanks to a person north of Elk Lake.  This was a lot of land for about half a dozen people to work by hand (except for the rotor-tiller).

The one acre field in Saanich B.C., has been rotor-tilled twice. It was a terrible job with all the rocks found on top and buried just below the surface.

preparing flax field for seed
Photo courtesy of Brian, 14.05.2012

The bottom end of the field was damp so didn't turn and crumble but was tilled into big lumps that didn't break down. The field had to be gone over twice and then raked by hand.

flax seed
Photo courtesy of Brian, 14.05.2012

The flax from this field will be referred to as the 2012 flax.
Flax seeds ready to be spread over the field. The name of the seed is "Electra" and it should be ready to harvest 100 days after planting. It was purchased from Biolin Research Inc. in Saskatchewan
The field was sown with a Scotts grass seed spreader.

rolling the flax 15.05.2012

The seeds had to be rolled into the soil. The job was tackled with a lawn roller and human energy on an extremely hot day. One of the fellows (Kief) had blisters & took his shoes off the other fellow (Johnathon) was singing a chant "Hot, Sun hot, Bring me hydration." His beautiful voice carried over the fields and with the lake in the background, it will be something I'll always remember. I took them a bottle of water.
We have a video of this which will be posted.

teamwork makes rolling the flax field easier 15.05.2012


Later a rope was found and two more people could team up to drag the roller over the quite lumpy ground at the bottom end of the field. The shadows were getting longer and it cooled off a tiny bit toward the end of the long long day.

flax seedlings on the north end of the field 25.05.2012

  Waaah Hoo - the seedlings are up. Will be interesting to see them growing - I've never seen a growing flax plant. Going to make linen out of these little guys.

new flax seedlings 23.05.2012

 Cute little things - going to be a table runner one day.  This was the North West corner of the field where the irrigation hose leaked for awhile. As the seeds there got more water they were thicker and more mature than the rest of the field.
Irrigation was a lot of hose and sprinklers.

flush of flax plants 29.06.2012

 Very delicate looking plant. It's interesting that it can produce one of the toughest fibres. This was about the time the thistles were pulled from around the edges. When the plants are under about a foot in height they can be gently walked on and will spring back up. After that, they don't spring back up and are lost to the dirt & rain.

delicate young flax plants 29.06.2012

Getting taller, a delicate plant with a strong fibre.  Going to make cloth out of these flimsy-looking plants.  Some places were not as thick as others.  Flax is better if it's planted close together. Being crowded discourages branching. You want a long single stalk for better long fibre.

flax flower

flax field in flower 27.07.2012

Huge fields on the prairies look like a lake from a distance

Nancy walking in flax 26.07.2012


This was Nancy's first time at the field. The flowers were beautiful and we are all quite pleased with ourselves. Not much room between field and blackberries, but we made a path along there first at harvest time

flax field in flower 26.07.2012

A flax field in full flower is a beautiful thing to see. Now it has to mature so it can be harvested.

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