How to Make Your Own Harvest Tote
Repurpose a vintage crate into a trusty tool for garden harvest that doubles as a drying rack for herbs and other gatherings.
A vintage fruit crate inspired this project. A comparable wooden crate will work well. The garden tote design serves multiple uses: The open weave of the hardware cloth bottom allows you to rinse just-picked produce in the tote -- the water drains away readily. Turn the tote over and use it as a drying rack for herbs or seed heads.
Hardware cloth is galvanized wire mesh with 1/4- or 1/20-inch openings that's available in various-length rolls from home improvement stores. Wear heavy-duty gloves when working with hardware cloth to protect your skin.
Step 1: Measure
Measure bottom of crate. Add 1 inch to the width and length (for a 3/4-inch overlap on each side), and use masking tape to mark dimensions on hardware cloth. Use metal snips to cut hardware cloth.
Step 2: Cut
Use pry bar to carefully remove bottom boards of crate. Remove any remaining nails or staples using hammer or screwdriver. Use metal snips to cut lengths of screen/shelf edging to fit outer bottom edges of crate.
Step 3: Fit
Fold down the four overlapping edges of mesh, fitting it snugly over bottom of crate. Cut away overlapped corners to ease and smooth the fit.
Step 4: Nail
Position piece of precut edging in place on an overlapping edge of hardware cloth and nail to crate using 1/2- or 1-1/4-inch nails, depending on thickness of board. Repeat to edge bottom perimeter of crate.
Step 5: Drill
Drill two wood screws through ends of each side board and into end boards to reinforce structure.
Step 6: Seal
Apply a coat of stain/sealer to entire crate using a paintbrush. Let dry overnight. Apply second coat of stain/sealer; let dry. Attach a drawer pull to each end of tote.