Archive for January, 2019

Snow Retting Flax

img_1092Last summer the dry, hot weather resulted in my first flax crop failure. There wasn’t enough seed to collect for 2019, so I’ll order new seed. There’s still plenty of flax from previous years, so I can continue to experiment.

Today it’s a sunny -15 C so I’ve taken a few bundles of flax out to try snow retting. The snow in the yard is at least a foot deep and much more can be expected before spring, so I’ve marked the corners of the patch with poles.

I’ll let it stay out there until the snow starts to melt and then examine it for signs of retting. While it’s this cold, I don’t expect any big changes, but with time, the fibre may start to separate from the core and the outer covering. Here’s hoping!


Bella in front of a snowbank for scale.

Update: It’s April 7th and over the last few days the flax has reappeared as the snow melts. It was covered with at least a foot of snow until recently:



It feels quite dry to the touch and I don’t think it’s changed much while buried in the snow. I’ve taken a small sample indoors to dry it completely and see if it’s started to ret. The rest can stay out on the snow and maybe absorb some moisture and do a bit more retting. Stay tuned.


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