Wednesday, September 30

Harvest Basket / Garden Hod Project

For several years, I've seen advertisements for the "Original Maine Garden Hod", which is a harvest basket with wooden ends and wire mesh bottom and sides. The ads state that this is a design adapted from clam hods, allowing to rinse the contents of the basket without removing them from the basket itself. In essence, this is a large-scale strainer for garden produce.

Searching various supply houses, the cheapest I could find these baskets is $30 (not including shipping), and many companies are selling them for $50. With all due respect to the sellers, these look like wonderful baskets, but I'm not able to part with $30-$50. Additionally, I know several gardeners who would rejoice in receiving a gift of a harvest basket, but again, my budget does not have room for the price.

I'd like to make my own version of the hod, so I started a little search online and came up with a fellow blogger's instructions. I like her dimensions, but her design doesn't fit my needs very well. For starters, I need to be able to carry it with one hand, so we need to add a handle. I also like the coated wire mesh of the original version, and I'd prefer to have cedar or redwood for the ends, since it's likely to be very wet.

The Farmchick blog has some clever features - using small feet on the bottom to keep the mesh off of other surfaces, 1x2 side rails for strength and attaching the mesh, and a good overall dimension.

Searching for other plans online, I came across a generic tool caddy project at Lowes online. I think the two plans will serve as a good starting point for my new garden hod.

Essentially, I need to take the ends and handle of the Lowes caddy, and round off the bottom corners. Then I'll add side rails, coated hardware cloth, and feet, as instructed by the Farmchick blog.
Rough dimensions I'm using are 5" high x 9" wide x 16" long for the 'basket' part, (the handle will be 8" high overall). Ends will be cut from cedar or redwood lumber, and sanded to round off edges. The mesh will be 5/8" hardware cloth coated with PVC or Vinyl and stapled in place (If you want to get fancy, you could route a nice channel in the end pieces for the wire to fit into.) The handle will be a 1x2, as will the side rails.

I made a mock-up in cardboard, to get a feel for the size... keep in mind the sides will be almost an inch thick and there will be a handle on top (1x2, not the 3/4" round as drawn on the cardboard.)

Since I'm all for "saving the earth" (and, I'm cheap), I'll be searching craigslist, for sale classifieds, and the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore to find scrap cedar, redwood, etc. Photos of the project will follow as I build them...
Update 1/21/2010...
The completed project can be found here.

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