May has been a busy month on Mallon Farm. Again this year, the wet spring prevented us from sowing the flax as early as we would have liked, but it is now in and doing well. Traditionally, it takes 100 days from sowing until harvest, so the countdown is now on!
We use the seeds taken from last year's crop (a process called rippling) and we broadcast these using a traditional tool called a fiddle. The 'bow' is moved from side to side, releasing the seeds as we walk up and down the field.
But before we can start sowing, we need to work out the seeding rate...and for this we use a simple (but effective) method.
We place a sheet with a metre marked on it and do a trial walk past using the fiddle.
We then count the seeds and work out whether we need to adjust the settings on the fiddle. We're looking for 800 seeds per square metre, so that when we walk north to south, and then walk east to west, the result is 1600 seeds per square metre.
It's good exercise! We'll keep you updated on the crop over the next 100 days and post links to the harvest if you would like to come along to pull flax with us in August. Fingers crossed for some good weather!