Picking the fruits and vegetables in my garden is one of my happiest chores. And being prepared with a good carrier makes sure that I can get everything to the house in one trip. I'm sure you've had the experience of heading to the garden to get a tomato or two and oh, boy, some cukes are ready for picking, and a pepper, and a hand full of beans. Suddenly, you can't manage with just 2 hands- you need a trug!
The first time I heard the word "trug" was in England where I picked up this little cutie some 45 years ago. The carrier pictured above is hand-made with split branches for trim and obviously, it has stood the test of time. It's suggested use was for berry picking because the slightly sloping sides would help prevent the berries from being squashed. Gathering baskets, gathering aprons, harvest baskets, hods and trugs are all used for harvesting!
I like this gathering basket because with a garden hose you can wash the vegetables before bringing them into the house. Inspiration for the "veggie hod" pictured above was from Runner Duck Resources
. The Runner Duck has a good (and simpler) tutorial on how to build these, but I modified it somewhat- my directions are below.
You will need:
1" x 6" Cedar, 3' long. Cedar is an excellent choice- its natural properties lend weather (water) resistance.
1/4" wire mesh cut 15.5" square- cut so there are no sharp pointies sticking out
8 Galvanized #10 screws 1.5" long
9/16" staples and staple gun
Apple tree branch or other hard wood approx. 20-21" long, 3/4" diameter
(The cedar board is actually 3/4" thick, 5.5" wide.)
From the board, cut two ends 8". Use a quart paint can on the side and bottom to mark a curve and cut to resemble the photo.
Notch the tops 1" down and 3/4" across.
From the remaining board, rip 2 pieces 1.5" for the handle holders and 2 pieces 1" for the rails. Cut the 1.5" pieces 12" long and round one of the ends on both pieces. Cut the rails 16".
Dry fit the rail into the notch on the end. Make an adjustment to the notch if necessary.
Pre drill holes for #10 screws where indicated on photo above.
On the rounded side of the handle holders, make 3/4" holes 3/4" from the end. If you're using a wood spade bit, cut halfway in, until the point of the bit protrudes through the other side. Work on the other side, using the hole to guide the spade and finish the cut. If you go straight through, the back side will be splintered and unsightly.
Sand all the pieces. Depending on the quality, cedar can be very stringy (in difference to splintery).
The wire mesh will have a natural roll to it because of how it is packaged and sold. The rolled sides attach to the ends. The straight sides attach to the rails.
Center the straight side of the mesh on the 3/4" side of the rail. This should give about 1/4" space at the ends of the rails. Staple to attach the mesh to the rail. Hammer your staples down to secure them to the rail.
Repeat with the other rail on the other side of the mesh. When complete, both rails will lie under the mesh. Bend the rail up to gently fold the mesh along the rail.
Screw the rails to the carrier in the notches as in the photo. When all 4 sides are screwed, put 2 staples on the underside of the ends to hold the sides about 1/4" out from the edge of the mesh to stabilize the shape.
Screw one handle holder to the end of the trug- 4" at bottom center.
Prepare your branch handle. You can scrape the bark off using a utility knife or leave it barked and rustic. A utility knife can whittle the ends to fit in the 3/4" holes you have cut out. I find it's easier to fit the handle before attaching the 2nd handle holder. Once the handle fits, attach the 2nd handle holder. Hammer a smail finishing nail through ONE end of the handle holder into the handle. This stabilizes the handle but still allows for shrinkage of the handle as it dries. I usually like to leave the handle sticking out the ends by an inch or two.
Trugs and garden benches
ready to go to the farm!