Having dedicated garden harvest tools will remove a point of frustration for a lot of gardeners. Do you find that when it’s time to pick tomatoes you are raiding the recycle bin for old grocery bags? When the broccoli is ready to harvest, do you lose your favorite paring knife in the garden? Does it take a dozen trips between the garden and the house, tracking dirt all the way to the kitchen sink, just to bring the day’s harvest in? It’s time to upgrade.
An investment in garden harvest tools can make the process much less stressful and keep the dirt in the garden and out of the house. Following is a list of items to consider buying, saving, or making to help make harvest time less stressful.
- Go to a second-hand store to purchase old kitchen knives for harvesting. Thin, flexible non-serrated blades of various lengths are very useful. Purchase a diamond hone to keep blades sharp.
- An old mailbox, tool box, or storage tote will make a good receptacle that can be left in the garden to hold these items in the same place every time.
- Stackable plastic mesh crates, like milk crates, allow produce to be harvested and pre-washed without handling it twice.
- Make a pre-wash station in the garden. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just a table with a wash basin could work. An upgrade would be an old kitchen sink draining into a five gallon bucket. The prewash station keeps most of the dirt and bugs out of the house, and facilitates the reuse of washwater.
- If the time from the garden to storage is going to be lengthy, or if the day is particularly hot, use a cooler to create a cold water bath for greens or other produce that could suffer from wilt.
- A wheelbarrow or a two wheeled garden cart helps at the peak of the season when there’s a lot to bring in. On hot, sunny days, park it in the shade or cover it with a tarp to minimize heat damage to harvested produce.
These few items will go a long way in making vegetable gardening more enjoyable, by taking away the scramble for tools and keeping the dirt out of the house. Happy gardening!