If you have been following my blog for even a hot minute, you know that I love my vegetable garden, and I have to say this time of year when harvesting is at its best, I feel so accomplished. This is my sixth year growing my garden and I’m not sure I’ll ever tire of it. I have learned so much from two of my friends that are master gardeners, one of which even has a cleaning station positioned a few feet away from her garden. So I decided to copy her, but on a smaller scale, and build my own garden harvest cleaning station.
Although the footprint of the garden itself doesn’t change, I do change up what gets planted in the raised bed. Each year, I alternate the beds for the tomatoes and cucumber patch because they don’t like to grow in the same location year after year. I typically grow the same plants because space is limited and I grow our favorite things to eat: tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and sugar snap peas, with some later-in-the-season broccoli added in there. I also have an herb garden, which I love to grow as well.
I keep an organic garden; I don’t use harmful chemicals nor spray pesticides. Homemade compost is my fertilizer and I weed it all by hand. Still, everything harvested needs to be rinsed and when I saw Lisa’s cleaning station, I knew I wanted to build one, too. And why not?! Such a great idea, and a place to not only rinse off your harvest, but a place to keep storage containers, too. Now, her’s is a bathtub. It’s big. But she needs one that big because her garden is over an acre in size. Me? I’m going with a single basin sink size cleaning station. These harvest cleaning stations aren’t costly to build, and if you grow a garden and have a small space available near your garden and within hose length, then I highly recommend you do so.
Here is a material list for what you will need to build your own garden harvest cleaning station:
- reclaimed sink
- heavy duty plastic garden fencing or screen
- 4 pieces wood for the frame of the netting (I used this wood board from Home Depot)
- A sturdy table where a hole can be drilled in the center to allow for drainage.
This garden cleaning station is a low budget build. No need to spend a lot. Lisa found the bathtub for her station by the side of the road (girl after my own heart), and I found my sink from the ReStore for $15. Brand new and plastic, it’s a single basin and just the right size. The fencing was scrap we had left over from our garden, and the wood I used to build the screen frame were pieces of wooden stair banister. The table I found on Facebook Marketplace for $20.
To make the frame, measure the sink and add two inches around the perimeter. Cut the wood on 45° angle to length, and nail corners together.
Once the frame is built, staple the screen or garden fencing on the frame, then cut off excess screening.
Place the sink on top of the table making sure it is centered. Use a pencil to draw around the drain hole. Use a drill with a hole saw blade to cut the hole in the table.
If the table you are using does not have a protective coating already, then you must apply one to protect it from the elements; rain, water, etc. I just used leftover marine varnish, but a good polyurethane will work perfectly as well. Let dry a full 24 hours.
To assemble the garden harvest cleaning station, place the table in the area you have marked out. Put the sink on top, making sure to line up the hole in the table with the drain hole in the sink. Put the framed screen on top, and you’re in business.
I put a bucket under the hole for water collection, which I then use for plants around the house where the hose can’t reach.
To store your harvested goodies, I use plastic fruit containers that I collect for this purpose. Perfect size and it keeps every variety together. Make sure you dry thoroughly and line with paper toweling before you store the rinsed veg.
An important tip I want to share with you is to never put tomatoes in the fridge. Don’t do it. It takes away all of their flavor. Even tomatoes that you buy from the store. Keep them on the counter at room temperature until you’re ready to eat them. This is where they are happiest and they won’t lose their flavor.
A quick build, this station took us all of an hour to build. Unless you’re building your own table, it’s a cinch. Low budget and totally legit. If you have a small spot near your garden, then by all means build a garden harvest cleaning station. It’s wicked handy.
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