Sometimes overlooked by gardeners, the trug is a really useful piece of equipment. It can be expensive to buy too, so why not make one? Gardening expert, writer and broadcaster Martin Fish shows you how.

A garden trug is a really handy piece of kit for your vegetable plot or allotment and they can be bought in many different shapes, sizes and styles, from colourful modern plastic to traditional designs. Costs vary  greatly and some of the traditional, hand-made trugs can cost up to £60  while even simple wooden trugs can he around the £30- £40 mark.

Handmade Trug

Trugs have been used for generations and the name is based on the word ’trog’ – the wooden boat. Trugs were used to quantify liquids and grain, but they soon became an useful tool for growers and market gardeners who used them to pick flower, vegetable and fruit crops from greenhouses or the property. They were widely used up to the 1940s, but as machinery was developed to harvest vegetables, less manual labour was needed and the trug went into decline and was used less and less by commercial growers.

garden trug

The design of trugs varies around the country and they are often made from local material such as hazel, willow or sweet chestnut.

Probably the most well-known style of trug is the Sussex trug that has been around for a couple of hundred years.

Now trugs are largely used in the garden and they can be ideal for carrying seed packets, young plants and seedlings, hand tools and of course for when you are picking and harvesting crops from the garden.

With Mothering Sunday around the corner, a home-made wooden trug would make a great present, particularly when it filled with an assortment of gardening goodies. By making your own trug you can adapt the shape and size to suit your needs and decorate it in any colour your mum would like!

To make a simple wooden trug for the garden is quite easy and inexpensive. In fact, if you can get hold of an old wooden pallet, the wooden boards are ideal for making a rustic garden trug and won’t cost anything at all.

All you have to do is carefully take the pallet apart, making sure you remove all of the old nails. From a pallet you can get enough boards to make a couple of trugs, depending on how big you make them.

If you can’t get hold of an old pallet don’t worry, all you need is some wooden boards from a special centre which will only cost a few pounds.


You will need a few basic woodworking tools to make the trug: wood saw, claw-hammer, set square, tape measure and pencil, drill and screwdriver bit, sandpaper. A vice or workbench is also very handy to hold the base firm when fixing the side boards to it. If using an old pallet you may also need a chisel or crowbar to dismantle it.

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