Friday, January 15, 2010

Website Update

I've been working on the website updates this week. My eyes go wonky working at the computer for more than 2 hours at a time.

But the website now has linked pages to Our virtual linen demonstration gardens and for the first time we have fiber flax seed for sale -- 3 European varieties available. I'm thrilled about that.

When I first wanted to grow flax I had a very difficult time finding linen flax seed in North America. I ordered from Richters Herbs, only to be told that they were "sold out". Then managed to order earlier the next year and got some, which grew fine in my climate -- Canadian zone 3 with summer frost and hail.

But now we have fiber flax seed available -- 3 varieties -- so everyone who wants to try growing there own local fashion can -- shirts, towels, table linens, hats, bedding, skirts, pants -- what an inspiring experience within the flax seed.

I have some woad blue and natural linen tea towels in the works -- the handspun, woad dyed linen thread is hanging in the studio as an inspiration, waiting for the flax break to be repaired (it broke at the Rock Creek Fair in September). But it will be done in early Spring and the flax breaking and spinning will resume. If you visit Joybilee Farm in the summer, you may find me weaving the towels.

The 3rd Annual Linen Festival at Joybilee Farm takes place on August 7th, 2010. Mark your calendars now, so you won't miss it.


  1. Delighted that you are carrying fiber flax seed! Is the seed treated?

  2. Hi, Cyndy
    No, the seed is untreated, European seed. The difference between oil seed flax and fiber flax in the seed is that the oil seed flax has a larger seed -- fewer seeds in the seed boll. Both are have edible seed and both produce flax oil in the seed.

    The Doukhobors around me used to grow fiber flax and then grind and press the oil from the seed to use for cooking.

    Probably more information than you were asking but I love the fact that both oil seed flax and fiber flax produce both oil and fiber -- just different qualities of both.


  3. Hip,hip,hooray! I am delighted to have a source for fiber seed! I had the worst time finding some last year. I finally found a variety called Evelin from Richters. Now I have choices and I don't know which kind to get! How are the fiber varieties different from each other? I live in Maine, my soil is very well drained and not very rich.

  4. Hi, Hannah
    I grew Evelin in 2008 and 2009. It grew well for me. My soil is rocky, and the plot I used was a first time planting after sod, so quite impoverished. Linen doesn't want much fertility, so its a good crop to follow potatoes or corn in a rotation planting. I grew it organically and had no trouble with insect pests. The grass hoppers even left it alone. Hail was a problem, in that it bent the stems which means the linen fiber will be broken and shorter than normal. But even the bent stems produced flowers and seed.

    I will be trying these new varieties this year and then I will be able to answer your questions in my climate zone (CND zone 3 with summer frost). What I know so far is that they are all blue flowered and all about the same height. All grew well on the Canadian prairies when seeded in midMay for a September harvest. Hermes is the one that I have fiber samples for and they are all 3 feet long and seem nice to spin if not overretted. Hermes is one of the parent plants used in developing Ilona and Electra -- which are modern selections.

    There is also a heritage garden that has another variety of linen -- I'll look it up and do a blog post in case others are interested.

  5. how do I go about purchasing your seed? Thanks Annie:)