The cultivation of flax in stages

How is flax grown? How long does it take the plant to mature? What impact do climatic conditions have on the quality of the harvest? From the field to the textile, the stages of flax cultivation in France.

  1. Sowing: 100 days of growth

Flax is only grown every 6 to 7 years on the same land. This rotation ensures a healthy and quality flax. This is why, before sowing, the residues of the previous crop must be collected. Then, the semi can be done. This is done in the spring and preferably in the first fifteen days of April to obtain a faster growth. Note that the plant takes only 100 days to reach its maximum height (up to 1m20), which is very little compared to other crops. During this period, the climatic conditions have a major importance on the quality of the flax. Too much rain can lead to lodging (plants lying on the ground) and if the flax does not stand up, the result of the harvest will be bad.

  1. Flowering: the few hours of a flower's life

A flax stem has several flowers. Each one of them will bloom for only half a day! This is quite particular. The flowering takes place in mid-June and lasts about 10 days. The bluish colors of the flowers offer a sumptuous ephemeral spectacle.

  1. The uprooting

More or less 1 month after the beginning of the bloom, in July, the plant is mature and can then be pulled out. This step requires dry weather, because the plant must dry before retting. The flax is pulled, not mowed, because the fiber is present along the entire length of the plant. The stems are then placed on the ground. This step gives the fields a particularly graphic aesthetic and a warm blondness.

  1. The retting

The last step in the cultivation of flax is the retting. This natural process is the separation of the fibers and the bark. The action of the plant in contact with the soil, exposed to the sun and the morning dew, allows the micro-organisms to dismantle the cement linking the flax fibers. Although retting occurs naturally, turning the flax over produces beautiful, fine and strong fibers. The quality of the flax is determined by the vigilance and action of the flax grower.

Finally, so that the plant is exploitable, follows the stage of scutching which consists in the mechanical separation of the wood of the stem and the fibres. The flax fiber is then ready to be combed and spun.

Discover more about this noble material by consulting our articles on linen and particularly on the history of linen and its French specificity.

Linenshed, by opting for a 100% French quality linen, has chosen a quality product for the making of its household linen and its clothes.