Balcony flax experiment 2020 #3

Finally! I decided to harvest the flax today. Originally I had planned to do it while ago, but the flax just didn’t seem to reach the point where it was ready for the harvest. Usually at the time of harvest, all leafs have fallen down, the stem has turned yellow and the seed capsules have a light brown colour (these are the recommendations for fibre flax, not oil flax). As you might know, I contribute to The Linen Project and the big flax field was already harvested a week ago and it was even sown later. So I figured it was time for the balcony flax to be pulled. I thought better harvest it too early (which it hardly is, it’s 123 days on the “field” today) than too late (less good fibre quality).



Note: two weeks ago the plant box broke – the cotton bag rotted through and so did the supporting sisal ropes. It didn’t result in much damage, but the soil just dropped deeper and deeper into the box (and onto the ground). For the future I know what to do better, but actually I was also happy to see the natural process of decay. I reckon that process of the soil moving also made some plants drop and fall over (left side on the picture above).

Obviously the harvest went incredibly quick. What I noticed was, that the roots were much finer than the ones I had seen on other fields. And for the first time I could see what I only read in books: the flax has roots as deep as it grows tall. When you pull the flax out you can’t notice, but I emptied the plant box and even at the bottom of the soil I found plenty of thin roots. My guess is that the fluffy soil leads to thee finer and thinner roots.

I was surprised by the harvest result in fact! I received 106 grams linum grandiflorum (from the pot) and 467 grams linum usitassimum. I removed the seed pods of linum usitassimum with a fork instead of a ripple. It worked perfectly fine. I am so curiour what the retting will bring! I haven’t decided yet if I do dew- or waterretting. For now the flax hangs on the balcony to dry.

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