What drying system do you use?

flowers4u(z6 OR)August 3, 2005


I'm a lurker on this forum, usually participate on the cutting forum more often. BUT, I have a "how do you do it" question...

I have a very timeconsuming way of hanging my dried flowers and am looking for better, faster ways! I use twisty ties threaded through the rubberbands on the bunch of flowers and hang them in the drying "room" part of my barn. This consists of wire shelving that these hang from in semi-darkness and fairly warm with good air circulation.

I've also use the collapsable wooden clothes racks with twisty ties...but those take time too!

But...I'd love to know the methods more of you use to dry large quantities of flowers.

I look forwardto hearing from you!

Wendy z6ish OR

Cutflowers For You

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neil_allen(z5/6 Chi IL)

Although almost every book says to use rubber bands to bunch flowers for drying, my wife and I use ordinary cotton string. We make a couple of turns around the bunch, then a tight single hitch, then tie the other end to the drying wire with a slip knot. When the bunch dries, one pull on the slip knot gets the bunch off the wire, then a pull on the long end of the string loosens the hitch and you can pull the string off the bunch easily. (Roberta will sometimes use a slip knot on both the bunch and the wire, but I have to use my teeth just to pull the hitch tight.) Despite everything the books say, very few flowers fall out of the string due to shrinkage of their stems -- supposedly the main reason to use rubber bands.

We dry the flowers in the loft of our pole barn. It has a gambrel roof, so at working height, the walls are slanting inward slightly. From about 3 feet up, we've got 14-gauge fence wire running the length of the barn stapled to the rafters. The wires are about 4 to 6 inches apart. We usually bunch things on the first floor of the barn, where it's cooler, in the middle of summer. It only takes a second to put up a bunch with a slip knot, and much less to take it down. I don't know how this would work in cramped quarters or on a drying rack.

This takes a lot of string. Roberta bought one of those things that looks like a giant bobbin, about a foot tall, that must hold more than 1,000 feet. The strings get re-used until they're too full of knots. (Normally, they don't have knots at the end of the bunching/hanging/unhanging/unbunching process, but it can happen). There have been times when almost all the hanging space has been full.

One thing that helps is that we also have flat drying racks set on saw horses that serve as tables to hold things about to go up or that are coming down.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 2:24PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Neil, so you do tie the bunches to your wire? You don't slip it over the wire, thus splitting the bunch?

I'm trying to put a mental picture together of your loft. Are the drying wires 3' above the floor? Approximately how many bunches can you dry simultaneously? (I understand that it depends upon the types of flowers!)

I'm horrible at tying knots, so may have to look for a simpler way for my "not nimble" fingers to use!

Thanks for responding! I welcome all ideas!
Wendy z6ish OR

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 3:08PM
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neil_allen(z5/6 Chi IL)

No, the wires run from one end of the barn to the other. Think of series of clothes lines, starting about 3 feet from the floor, then the next one say, 3 feet 4 inches, then 3 feet 8 inches, and so on. Every 2 feet, there are rafters going up, and the wires are stapled to the rafters.







Between any two rafters (call that space a "bay"), we can tie up to 10 bunches on a wire, but the usual number is more like six or seven bunches. There are about 15 "bays" between rafters on each side of the barn, so about 30 in all, and about 10 tiers of wire in each "bay," although some of these are overhead and hard to reach. So we could probably hang about 2,100 to 3,000 bunches. In practice, I think probably around 1,500 is the most we've ever hung at one time.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 3:52PM
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I do use rubber bands to make the bunches. Then I slip a pinch-style wooden clothespin under the rubber band of each bunch. (I get big bags of clothespins at the dollar store for next to nothing.)

Then I clip three or four of the bunches I've made (each bunch attached to one clothespin) along the length of a wire clothes hanger, and just hang the clothes hangers along clotheslines strung in our garage and sheds.

It's easy to take a clothes hanger or two off the clotheslines when we need some, and each hanger holds several dried bunches of flowers. It's also easy to unclip the clothespins from the hangers and slip the individual bunches of dried flowers out of the rubber bands. Works prettty well.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 5:31PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Neil - one last question...for your wire...what gauge do you use? I assume its attached to your roof every 4' or so...still working on redoing my drying area in my head...and getting there!

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 4:23PM
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neil_allen(z5/6 Chi IL)

Hi Wendy --

I'm pretty sure it's 14 gauge fence wire. It came in 250-foot rolls, as I recall. A lighter gauge would probably work. The roof trusses are 2 feet apart.

Before we built the barn, we improvised in some sheds with fairly low sidewalls and slanting roofs. There, we used lengths of stiff wire with pointed ends that we could stick between rafters. The wires are made for holding in insulation, and you find them in the insulation section of home improvement stores. They come in 2-foot and 16-inch lenghths.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 2:11PM
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neil_allen(z5/6 Chi IL)

If anyone is thinking of using long rolls of fence wire, the thing to do is go all the way and get the big reel they sell to hold it. It costs more than a roll of wire does, but when you undo the last clip that holds the roll of wire together it tends to go sproinggg!!! and you've got a big pile of 14 gauge spaghetti. This whole system is overkill unless you've got a barn or something like it.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 7:47AM
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hi im 13, i dont dry flowers but i suggest drying flowers in a box of salt fully covering the flower you would like to dry, salt should soak up the moisture quicker and leave you with a dried flower

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 6:08PM
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