Sowing Flax at Mallon Farm

We’re keeping a close eye on the weather these days as we hope to sow our 2022 crop of flax within the next few weeks. We learned a lot about seeds in our first year of growing flax. The variety we planted grew into a shorter, bushier type of flax plant more suited to producing seeds and oil. Every year since, we’ve planted varieties called Avian and Lisette. These plants are ideally suited to the climate here in Northern Ireland and the tall stems yield fibre that is perfect for textiles. Ideally we want stems to be longer than one metre.

We use a traditional tool called a fiddle to distribute the seeds over the soil. The bow is moved from side to side just like the musical instrument. We've tried a few different methods of sowing flax seed over the years and have found the good old fiddle to be the most effective. 

Every year we also plant out some small plots for growing heritage varieties that are used to build up stocks of seed. These have some interesting names such as Stormont Motley and Stormont Gossamer.
Once the fields have been sown we watch and we wait (and we weed!). Traditionally flax is ready to harvest after 100 days, and this has largely been our experience so far. Follow us on instagram @mallonlinen for more updates on the 2022 crop and hopefully some video clips of us using the fiddle!
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