Until a couple years ago, I did not even know what a garden sink was, let alone how to build a garden sink or why on Earth I needed one. In case you are wondering a garden sink is an outdoor sink (with or without counters) situated near your garden and used for removing the worst of the mud and dirt from the veggies you plan to take inside, wash more thoroughly, and eat. A garden sink usually has a bucket or plastic bin underneath to catch the dirty water (gray water) and pour back on the garden (no waste water). Some folks even hook the garden sink drain up to a drain hose and channel that water into either a rain barrel or other catchment system. I just use a plastic bin.
Anyway, it is a wonderful thing to have because now you are not wasting the gray water and you are not rinsing all that mud down your kitchen pipes and clogging them up. Think of it as a “mud room for veggies.” Isn’t that brilliant? It keeps the dirt out of your kitchen. That is cause for a grin, don’t you think?
If you are ready to build a garden sink, your first challenge is to find an old sink. It does not matter if it is old and beat up. Doesn’t need to be anything fancy and it doesn’t even need to have a faucet unless you just want one. You can use the garden hose to fill it, if need be. However, if you DO have a faucet, you will need the right plumbing fixtures to connect the garden hose to them. Most hardware stores can fix you right up. But as for finding the sink, try craigslist.com, Habitat For Humanity, or any of those resale places that sell gently used household fixtures taken away during a remodel. Do you know someone who is remodeling? Ask them not to throw out their old sink and instead, save it for you. OR maybe your own kitchen sink needs replaced anyway! Buy a new one for your kitchen and use your old one to build your garden sink. You could even use a washtub or a cheap utility sink like this one. What is important is that you have a convenient place that is easily supplied with water and a means by which to prevent that water from being wasted.
Next step is to figure out where it is going to sit (must be close to both the garden and the end of your garden hose) and it will need to be reasonably level. If you do use an old sink (not a utility sink) then you are going to need to build a frame for it out of pressure treated 2x4s. You may want to add a little “counter space” on either or both sides so you have a place to set the veggies while you work. If you cannot find old counter tops, get some 1/4″ plywood, cut it to fit, and seal with a water sealant. You may need to put a fresh coat on every year to prevent water damage. When you determine what length the legs should be, take the height of the person who will use it most into consideration. I like mine about 2 inches taller than the average kitchen counter. It is easier on my back.
Now, here is how we built ours. Yes, we got very lucky and inherited both a sink and counter tops from Eddie’s parents when they remodeled their kitchen. We used part of the counter tops for my Potting Station and the rest here on the Garden Sink. (Thank you, Mom & Dad! We love you!) But as for measurements on your frame, you will need to first measure the sink itself, measure the space you have available for it, decide whether you want a counter, water sealed plywood, or nothing and do the math from there. Once you have your frame measurements, the materials, some screws, and a drill, you are good to go. Remember two things: “always take function over form” and “improvisation is a wonderful thing!”
Now tell me that you do not want to build a garden sink! Yes, of course, you do! Go ahead … gather what materials you need and can get, measure, cut, build and ENJOY! Like this post? Check out our Potting Station and Kindling Bin too! You are going to love them!