The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Even better vegetable curing rack

Onion drying rack

Garlic curing towerLast year's drying tower was a vast improvement over my cobbled-together vegetable-curing stations of previous years, but the racks were still problematic.  The worst issue was access --- climbing up a ladder with baskets of heavy produce is dangerous and tiring, which led to me ignoring the contents of the racks until absolutely necessary.  The vegetables also sometimes got re-wet by rain splashes, and I felt the roof might have been a bit too close to the top shelves, causing the contents to cook on very hot days.

With a big front porch, this year I finally had room to cure vegetables in plain sight.  I took advantage of the opportunity by spreading onions across twenty square feet or so.  But even that method was imperfect, and not just because I wanted the space for other things.  The onions were more prone to damage on the ground, and less prone to drying well while sitting on a solid surface.

Enter drying rack 2.0!  My stepmother-in-law designs displays and packaging for a pet food company, and she let us know that some display racks were in need of a good home.  One Drying rackcame home with me, and I quickly assembled it and determined the rack was the best thing since sliced bread.  The wheels are still out in the car, but once we dig them out, the unit will even be rollable and easy to move inside if a sudden frost threatens.

I think Jayne has more of these display units looking for a home, and if so, I plant to add more racks to each individual unit.  For drying purposes, I could easily fit about eight levels in one unit and barely use up any floor space at all.  Since the shelves are removable, it'll be easy to change the distance between racks when the time comes to pull in the butternuts and then the sweet potatoes.

In the meantime, our storage onions are finishing up the curing process in their new home.  Most are fully dried and bagged, but the ones that seemed to need a bit more time (or to be eaten sooner) are now laid individually on the rack surface for more even drying.  Thanks so much, Jayne and Rose Nell, for the world's best drying rack!

Our automatic chicken waterer lets you fill the waterer and forget it for weeks at a time.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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