As Sanborn Mills Farm explores the expansion of our educational programs, we are researching how to grow, harvest, raise and process all kinds of materials for making traditional crafts. We are also committed to researching and preserving the traditional skills to produce crafts that are unique to Northern New England.
The goal is to support and engage in the entire process – what we are calling “stump to stick.”
We will share what we are learning on this page. Keep checking back for more information.
Here is some information we’ve been researching on useful plants we are starting to grow:
Broom Corn . . .
Broom corn is used for making traditional “straw” brooms. In spite of its common name, it is actually a sorghum.
- Information on growing broom corn from Purdue University: https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/broomcorn.html
- A blog from the Living History Museums on growing broom corn: https://lhfkidsblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/broom-corn-harvest/
Flax . . .
Flax is the plant used to produce linen yarn and cloth. The seed of the flax plant has health benefits and the oil from the seed is used to make linseed oil.
- The New England Flax & Linen Study Group: http://www.newenglandflaxandlinen.org/
- Information on growing flax from Purdue University: https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ncnu02/v5-358.html
(check out their index for information on a wide variety of plants!)
- The Manitoba Flax Growers Association website with information on history, varieties of seeds that can be ordered, uses, etc
Willow . . .
Certain types of willow are used to make baskets, fences, and other garden structures.
- Dunbar Gardens: http://www.dunbargardens.com/
- Vermont Willow Nursery: https://www.willowsvermont.com/home.html
- Willowglen Nursery: https://www.willowglennursery.com/default.php
Solar Powered Wood Kiln . . .
- Kiln design from Virginia Tech’s Cooperative Extension: Virginia Co-OP Solar Kiln