Building a Potting Bench

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I am having a potting bench made. Is there any suggestions for my bench.
1. What are your two favorite things about this bench?
2. What don't you like that you would change?
3. Do you have a sink?
4. I think I will have a place where I can scrape my potting soil down into a bucket below the potting shelf?

Any suggestion would be great.

Orrville, OH(Zone 5b)

Here's a picture of my when the shed was in progress. I like that there's a bucket to catch either dirt or water. I also like that I have cold water. I wish we had used a better grade of plywood for the counter. It's hard to clean the rough surface.

Thumbnail by maozamom
Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Wow! that's some bench. Usually you see plans that are about 4-5 feet wide. Mine is going on my deck. There's water out there. I have lots of cabinet area like yours in my basement, only they go across the room - not around the perimeter. I bought cheap vinyl flooring squares and glued them onto the surface of the cabinets. I bring in a lot of plants to winter over and that's where I put them. I have no access to water in the basement.
Thank you for showing me your bench. I am quite sure you enjoy it.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

We built ours with 2x4 lumber for legs, and then put a shelf down below and a frame on top, which we covered with rat wire. It's about 23" deep and about 6' long. Along the edge of the top we put a strip of wood to protect clothing from the wire edges. We should possibly have used a few more cross pieces. We have one on either side and a potting bench we picked up at Tidewater Workshop at the rear. But that's in our greenhouse; in the arbor we have an old potting bench next to our old kitchen sink, which DH framed in for me. We use a bucket for the water, too, and then I take it out and use it to douse rose bushes or other plants in need of attention. Both of those setups are outside, which makes a difference in the look you want.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I have a two basin old sink but haven't used it for anything. I keep thinking I will figure out a way to use it for potting etc. It's on our patio which is below the deck just looking pitiful right now.
"We have one on either side" Do you mean a cross piece? I will have to ask my h. what a "cross piece" is.
I like having the potting bench on my deck as I don't have to go up and down steps so much. Plus, I have a gazebo type roof over a lot of the deck and it gives me much needed shade and is cooler.
I don't know what rat wire is either, but I will do a google search and see if I can find out what it is.
Thanks for your info.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Oh, sorry! We have two tables, one on either side of the greenhouse. By cross pieces, I meant the part of the frame on the top that spans from the front to the back. Now that the tables are a few years old, the rat wire sags a little. There are probably other names for it, but rat wire is a stiff mesh or screen that theoretically keeps out rats because of its strength.

When we replaced our kitchen sink DH was going to chuck it, and I told him it would be perfect for the arbor, next to the outdoor potting bench. I keep a stiff plastic cutting board over one of the basins for more working space, and under that is also a good place to leave knives and sponges and anything else you might want out of the weather. I normally have a (new) cat litter pan inside the part of the sink that I use for washing, so it can hold water and is more easily emptied once I'm done washing hands or veggies or four-packs for seedlings. I do trim and clean vegetables out there, too, so I don't have the dirt in my kitchen sink. It's amazingly handy.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Greenhouse: your set up sounds really nice. I really like the idea of using the sink and a cutting board, but my sinks are really wide across. I would have to come up with something else to cover up the one sink. I would want something that would handle water. I may have to set up my sink on the patio. Then, put my potting bench on my deck. Washing veggies outside would be really great!

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Birder, my sink is a fairly standard-sized double basin model. I bought it to replace the old yellow porcelain-over-iron sink that we installed in the '70's when we built the house. The contractor first talked me into an acrylic sink, even though I was concerned that it might not hold up to the use I put it to, with my heavy iron frying pans and such. Sure enough it started to chip, so we had to take it out and put in a granite composite model instead. That one's not as pretty, but it does the job! Anyway it wasn't hard to find something that would cover the basin of the acrylic sink; what I have is wide enough to go from one side to the other of the basin but not quite broad enough to cover it front to back.

We also installed one of those white hoses that they sell for trailers and RVs, from the yard hydrant to the sink, so that the water would be potable, since it's nice to be able to grab a drink when you're working out in the garden. I don't know how much difference it really makes, but just in case....

I'll try to take a photo once the sun comes out!

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

The white hose is a great idea. I measured my sink. It's about 20 inches wide. A picture would be great.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Okay, here you go. You can get some idea of the size from the other things in the photo; the yard hydrant's in the foreground and my very early garden is in the background. I have wood chip paths between the rows and a brick walk, too. The sink is in our arbor, which is a good place to put it and to work because it has dappled shade. The cat pan under the sink fits - kind of - in the sink, and that way I don't have to use the stopper or quite so much water. I also use the water in the pail underneath to rinse things like seedling four-packs, and then I pour the water on something that needs it. To the left you can see the old potting bench, but we have a newer one in the greenhouse. I would have taken more pictures but the battery in my camera died. I'm charging it now!

Thumbnail by greenhouse_gal
Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Great Picture. I looked with my magnifier lens to see what the white object is under the bench. It is square with a lid. It least that is the way it looks to me.
"rinse 4 pack seedlings" I am not sure what that means. I know this is off topic, but I like to learn all I can.
Your garden area looks very nice and neat.
Thanks for the picture. I know what you mean about the battery quitting on you. That happened to me last week, and you are all motivated to take pictures!

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

The white object is a plastic container - I think it held birdseed once. It's square and has a lid, but I don't use the lid because it's there to catch water.

Four-cell seedling packs are those plastic thingies that nurseries and garden centers use to hold small plants - four-packs of marigolds or zinnias or whatever. Some places use really sturdy ones, and I rinse them after I put the plants in the ground, and stack them for next year so that when my tomatoes have their true leaves I can transplant them into the four-packs where they'll have more room to grow.

Here's a better view of the garden - the arbor is to the right, out of the picture. The newer potting bench is in the greenhouse; you can see it straight on. And to either side are the other benches my DH and DS made.

This message was edited Apr 28, 2010 4:59 PM

Thumbnail by greenhouse_gal
Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Whew! Really nice, I save the cell packs too. For some reason, I thought you were rinsing them when the plants that were in them and I thought maybe I was missing something. I don't rinse mine out, however. I use them for some of my winter sow plants that I grew from seed.
Thanks for the picture.
Thanks for all your information about your potting bench. I have a better idea of what I want now.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I rinse mine out when I'm done just to protect against carryover of fungi or diseases, although I'm not sure if that would really help.

After I repot my seedlings in them, though, I put them in a tray that holds water so that they can absorb it from the bottom.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

That's definitely the best way to water them, but I don't always do it that way.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I do it 'cuz it's easiest. I have some of those styrofoam sets from Gardeners Supply, and the wicking action on those works well, but bottom watering seems just as good. Plus I can use a heat mat with that arrangement but it's not recommended with the styrofoam. The bottoms of the cells are probably too far away from the heat source for it to do any good.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I have used aluminum baking pans for trays. They're a dollar at the dollar store. Easy to store.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I have two potting tables. The first one I got was a wooden slats kit I got at Big Lots. It has a nice table with a grid that lifts out to reveal a small pan underneath to catch the soil. That pan was really too small, so I removed it and on the bottom storage shelf, I put a large, deep kitty little pan which works out much better. The back of the table has a small "hutch" where I can set my "Off", wasp spray, little pots, etc.

A few weeks ago I got a stainless steel potting table on Craigslist for $20. It has a lower storage shelf and also two drawers under the main shelf. And then there are two large detachable metal pockets that hang on each side of the table. And believe me, the drawers and pockets are all full!

I also managed to snag a rubbermaid compost bin for free from Freecycle. It was like new! Old homeowners left it behind and the new homeowners didn't garden so they offered it to me. I use it for a soil bin next to the potting tables.

Here's a pic of my potting shed and maybe you can make out the tables.

Thumbnail by ButterflyChaser
Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Here's the stainless steel potting table. The only thing I'd do differently with it is attach some wheels. It could be nice to have it be portable.

Thumbnail by ButterflyChaser
Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I did just get a portable potting table on Craigslist for $5. It's really cool! It has an upper deck and lower deck. I usually load the lower deck with the plants I need to plant and I use the upper deck for trimming foliage, holding tools, garden designs, etc. It's made from an old lawn mower and wheels thru my gardens quite easily. Is that not just the cleverest thing?

Thumbnail by ButterflyChaser
Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Wow! Those are neat tables and what bargains!! Craig's list is not very active around here. The lawn mower one is really cute, and I think it will be really useful. Lucky you.
I did get my potting bench built and I like it.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Show us a picture, birder! We love pictures!

Fort Collins, CO(Zone 5a)

This is one I just made.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkfoC-6K_e4

Thumbnail by Blake_Schreck
Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

What a beautiful bench, but I'd be afraid to use it for potting - it might get dirty! Mine is made of fairly rough lumber.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Blake, thanks for showing us your potting bench. It looks like a really nice one.

Lula, GA(Zone 7b)

I just stumbled on this and have to compliment Blake. That is a beautiful potting bench!! TFS

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7b)

Here is an idea I saved. But I am searching for the person who recently made a quick one with a picnic table and used the benches stacked for shelves.

Thumbnail by curvesarein
Kingman, AZ(Zone 7b)

Here's another.

Thumbnail by curvesarein
Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Well, I never posted a picture of my potting bench, but I sure do like it. It's real simple but works for me. I am not very good at posting pictures.
Thanks for sharing your pictures of your benches.
I took pictures, but wasn't able to post them. Maybe, I can try again.

Thumbnail by birder17
Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

It's not fancy, but it works well for me. Here's a couple more.

Thumbnail by birder17
Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

This is quite handy for the garden hose.

Thumbnail by birder17
Lula, GA(Zone 7b)

birder, a potting bench that works for you is a good one! I'm sure you enjoy yours being so large and in the shade. Excellent on a 92 degree day like it is here today.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Thanks Cedar. I do enjoy my bench. I carry out a large stand fan when it gets hot and it works pretty good.

Lula, GA(Zone 7b)

In my world, portable fans are the STUFF!

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Yes, they can make the difference in staying out and finishing the job or giving up and going inside.

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

Mine is an old dresser painted and topped with marble tile. I can fit 5 plastic shoe boxes in each of the long drawers for plant food, vermiculite, etc.

Thumbnail by frogymon
Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Now, that's a cool idea! Where did you get the dresser?
I keep great big storage containers for soil. One is for new seed starting soil, and the other is for soil that has been in pots or window boxes that I want to dump. I re-cycle the soil by adding a little Osmocot and the water crystals. I also keep several small flower pots under the bench, and a big can with a lid and handle for my bird seed. I also keep a car brush on my bench to brush away the soil that accumulates when one is transplanting etc.

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

Either at an auction or a thrift store, can't remember which, but I know I didn't pay more than $35 for it.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I have several sheets of marble that lined a small shower in the house. After looking at these pics, I'm inclined to want to construct a potting table and use the marble for the top. I'd probably have to send it out to a stone mason to do the cutout for a double stainless steel sink I've held on to for my potting table.

Thanks for the wonderful ideas.

That potting station made from an old door is TO DIE FOR!!!! I could do that in a heartbeat and install the double sink on top!

Linda

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

We just finished building this potting bench. Fits in an area on the back patio. We're both happy with how it turned out.

Thumbnail by SusanKC

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