Create a Potting Nook Create a Potting Nook

You haul out your favorite clay pots, gather the plants you just purchased, then run back to the garage for your trowel and gloves. Sitting on the ground, you pull everything closer to begin repotting when you realize you forgot the potting soil. Back to the garage you go to lug the soil to your potting place. Hauling your gardening gear outside took a half hour or so, and you're feeling frustration instead of gardening contentment. Wouldn't it be grand to have your garden supplies all organized neatly in one area? Wouldn't it be great to be able to pot up plants right there and then place them outside? If your answer is a resounding yes, it's time to build a gardening nook for all your gardening paraphernalia.

Your first step is to clear out a corner or area in the garage. A length of area around six feet should be enough space. You can purchase a potting bench for anywhere from $120 to over $300. You might want to try your hand at building a very simple potting bench that folds down when not in use. The following directions are based on plans by P. Allen Smith.*

You'll Need:
  • 2 - 60 inch long 2x4 boards
  • 5 - 15 inch 2x4 boards
  • 6 - 60 inch long 1x3 boards
  • 2 - 75 inch long heavyweight chains
  • 4 heavy screw hooks
  • 2 heavy-duty hinges in brass
  • Paint or stain
  • Finishing nails and screws

Directions:
  1. Build the frame using two 60 inch 2x4 boards and two 15 inch 2x4 boards.
  2. Screw the 15 inch boards to one 60 inch board spacing evenly and attaching from the outside in. Attach the other 60 inch board, screwing it securely from the outside.
  3. Using finishing nails, attach the six 60 inch 1x3 boards, nailing one inch apart. An alternative to the slatted look is to use one solid piece of plywood.
  4. Lightly sand and paint a bright color or stain.
  5. Screw two hooks into the outer edge. Use heavyweight hinges for the back of the shelf, where it will hang on the wall. Measure a height that fits you comfortably and mark the wall. With assistance, place hinges on the mark and screw them into the predrilled holes in the wall.
  6. Fasten a length of chain to screw hooks that have been attached to each side of the frame top. Have someone hold the bench while you hold the length of chain up to the wall to determine where the screw hooks should be placed. Using a level, check to see that the table lies flat. Mark the spot where the screw hooks will go. Attach the screw hooks.

Just above the level of the hinges of the potting bench, place a 5 foot x 3 foot peg board. Build a simple frame to attach the peg board for a finished look. Paint in a bright color to match or compliment the potting bench. Hang clippers, nippers, loppers, trowels and any other gardening tools from the peg board. You can purchase small baskets to hold smaller items like garden gloves, plant tags, and if you're into floral design, things like floral pins and green picks. Have a peg for hanging your favorite straw gardening hat.

Purchase or build one or two large shelves to hang on either side of the potting bench to hold your favorite clay pots and saucers. A large garbage bin on rollers works perfectly for mixing potting soil. Store it under the potting bench where it can be easily accessed when needed.

Using a piece of board, driftwood, or plywood, make a decorative sign to hang above the pegboard. Paint the board in a vivid color and then add text like "Mimi’s Potting Place" or "The Potting Place," a clever saying, or quote.

Yyou garage potting bench will make your garden place fun, organized, and easily accessible. What a relief to never have to drag all your tools, soils, plants, and fertilizers outside and then sit on the cold ground to pot up plants. Having a place for everything and everything in its place will keep you a happy gardener in your potting nook.

*Directions for fold down potting bench from Cottage Living Jan/Feb 2006, issue 12 (pg. 47-48).

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