Drying Rack for Flowers and Herbs
I've planted A LOT of flowers which are grown specifically to be dried. I contemplated how I was going to have the space for them and decided on this 7' tall drying rack I made from apple tree branches.
I only had a small corner of my living room for this project. Certain flowers come on all at once so I had to be able to get a lot drying at one time.
The tree branches were cut about 6 months before I began the project, giving them time to shrink a bit and for the bark to loosen. It was easy with a utility knife to scrape the bark from most of the branches.
I decided on a tri-pod arrangement and first laid a "ladder" of branches on the floor, using thinner branches as the rungs. At first I tied the cross branches to the longer ones, but even with a good twine, I was not able to make a secure connection. When I lifted the "ladder" up, it tilted showing all the cross pieces were willing to rack. So I laid it on the floor again, removed all the twine ties and used a power nailer with brads to secure the cross branches.
Once the first ladder was sturdy, I worked on the piece while it was upright in the position I wanted and attached cross branches to the "back leg". Then I connected more branches to create the third side. In several places, I double nailed a branch to prevent racking.
I left the ends of the cross branches wider than my "ladder legs" for additional hanging space. I love the way it looks in the room- rustic and artistic- and it does offer the drying space I wanted. I also think it would be perfect, in smaller scale, for drying herbs and décor on a buffet.
The flower bunches are tied with rubber bands and hung from hooks I fashioned from large paper clips. I opened the paper clips, straightened out the larger hook and wrapped it around the handle of a foam paint brush which seems to work out for my size cross branches. The small hook is slipped onto the rubber band, the large hook goes onto one of the branches.
Yarrow was the first crop to be harvested this year. When dried, it holds its color so beautifully and is a great addition to dried bouquets and herb wreathes.
Other flowers for drying- statice, ammobium, straw flowers and celosia are all planted and just starting to bloom. I had a wealth of lavender from 3 year old plants which had been started from seeds.
Even though harvest season is just starting, I'm adding to it everyday and have one side of the drying rack just about filled!