Processing and Winnowing Flax

We grew a five foot circle of flax this winter in the center of our yard. When it came time to harvest said flax I pondered creating the world’s smallest piece of linen. Lacking the time for that process, I opted to simply harvest the seeds.

I used a block of coconut coir to smash the seed heads against a piece of newspaper.

Next came time for winnowing the flax. I used a fan and had to winnow multiple times to get the chaff out.

Alas, there was still quite a bit of chaff. Remembering that I had some 1/8 inch hardware cloth in the garage, I used it to screen out most of the last chaffy bits. You can buy expensive screens for processing seeds, but the amortization on that equipment would take years for our tiny garden.

A huge mess was made. Good thing Kelly is off camping.

In the end I managed to harvest nine ounces of flax seeds. Plans for a flax oil pressing fest were canceled.

Meanwhile, as yet unnamed new kitten ponders the absurdity of the world’s smallest flax seed harvest from her pillow perch.

Leave a comment


  1. Would you grow it again? We are contemplating expanding our only remain yard that’s left (about 40 ft) to grow flax. We live in zone 4. Would love your feedback!

  2. I’m hoping to plant flax next year on a boulevard or other unused area to harvest for the chickens I’m planning on getting this year. That way I wouldn’t have to use so much of my own garden space for probably a small crop 🙂 I also love the idea of making a previously ugly space beautiful, because flax is GORGEOUS!

    Maybe I’ll do a giant hippy heart in a vacant lot, shoot it from above for ya! hehe

  3. Ahem. No, I had the world’s smallest harvest of flax seed a couple of years ago. We only had a few plants and I think I harvested about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of seeds.

    But, yeah, I definitely want to grow a bigger patch of it for the prettiness and the seeds!

  4. It takes one acre of land to grow enough flax to make a mans shirt.Learned that one from a guy we knew who was into re-enactment historical groups.

  5. Now I have a better idea how much flax I would have to plant for bread additive.
    Good luck with Flax the Cat *grin*

  6. So do you harvest the fibers, or you just compost the stalks?
    I would love to hear from anyone who has harvested the fibers…

  7. @Leathery: Our “crop” was way to small to get into that side of things. I know it’s an involved process: retting, beating, etc–and that’s before you even start spinning. Gives you a new appreciation for linen.

Comments are closed.