Flaxseed Harvesting Time: Learn How To Harvest Flaxseed In Gardens

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

How to harvest flaxseed? Commercial flaxseed growers generally winnow the plants and allow them to dry in the field before picking up the flax with a combine. For backyard flaxseed growers, harvesting flaxseed is a very different process that is usually done completely by hand. Read on to learn how to harvest flaxseed.

Flaxseed Harvesting Time

So when do you harvest flaxseed in the garden? As a general rule, flaxseed is harvested when approximately 90 percent of the seedheads have turned tan or gold, and the seeds rattle in the pods – about 100 days after planting seeds. There will probably still be a few green leaves, and the plants may also have a few remaining blooms.

How to Harvest Flaxseed

Grab a handful of stems at ground level, then pull the plants up by the roots and shake to remove excess soil. Gather the stems into a bundle and secure them with string or rubber bands. Then hang the bundle in a warm, well-ventilated room for three to five weeks, or when the stems are completely dry.

Remove the seeds from the pods, which is the most difficult part of the process. Mother Earth News advises putting a pillowcase over the top of the bundle, then roll the heads with a rolling pin. Alternatively, you can lay the bundle on a driveway and drive over the pods with your car. Whichever method works for you is fine – even if there’s another you fins that works better.

Pour the entire contents into a bowl. Stand outdoors on a breezy (but not windy) day and pour the contents from one bowl into another bowl while the breeze blows away the chaff. Repeat the process, working with one bundle at a time.

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