Country Lore: August/September 2017

Readers’ tips about storing onions, making a free solar food dehydrator, creating upcycled herb planters, rain water storage, and more.

| August/September 2017

Upcycled Herb Planters

Living in a hollow makes finding nutrient-rich garden space an issue. All the good dirt is at the bottom. I wanted an herb bed on the rocky ground up by the greenhouse, but all I had was some old lumber, some cracked cinder blocks, and a broken washing machine. As decorative as broken appliances are on the porch, the washing machine was taking up space. We removed the inside drum of the washing machine and made it into a wonderful herb planter. Then, we recycled the metal portions of the machine. The old lumber made a nice raised bed, and we turned the cinder blocks on their sides and breathed new life into them as planters. We put up scrap chicken wire from a chicken tractor project to keep my pasture-raised hens out of the herbs. The upcycled herb beds fit right in next to our greenhouse, which is made out of a broken trampoline and used lumber from an old house.

Holly Robinson
Mount Vernon, Kentucky

Repurposed Onion Storage

Onions grow wonderfully for us. Since we always have a bumper crop, we struggle to find space to store them where they won’t rot. To remedy this, we found an old baby crib and removed the sides. Using wire, we hung the crib sides from the roof of our covered porch. We harvested our onions and let them dry for a couple of days in the garden before we bundled them up, dirt and all. Then, we tied the onions to the crib sides in groups of five or six with leftover baling twine. The crib sides are high enough to be out of the way, so we just leave them hanging up. The main thing is to keep the onions dry and not directly in our hot Texas sun. They last for months, and it’s nice to have them ready to go when we need them.

Dawn Hodges
Bellville, Texas

Free Homemade Solar Dehydrator

I had some unused windows and screens in my garage, so I decided to see whether they’d make a good solar dehydrator. I put aluminum foil against the ground to act as a barrier and to reflect the sun. Then, I placed the screen over the foil and put some thinly sliced veggies on it. I set the window on top and propped it up a little with a rock to get some air flow. I had dehydrated vegetables within 24 hours!

Diana Laurenitis
Sunderland, Massachusetts

mother earth news fair


Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

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