Hello spring! Goodbye clutter! In anticipation of the growing season, I decided to organize all of my gardening goodies by creating a potting bench made from reclaimed material that I found in my basement and at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. And the stuff I decided not to keep? Well, that went back to the ReStore as a donation! It is ReStore’s spring donation drive after all.
By the time I purchased my 100 year old home the kitchen had been remodeled several times, but one of the original cabinets was stashed away in the basement. It is the perfect centerpiece for my potting bench and provides great storage for all my pots and tools. Because I have so many house plants, I chose to have my potting bench in my basement. My husband attached the cabinet to the basement wall and built a simple table base from scrap lumber to provide a work surface for me and additional support for the cabinet. He’s generally a pretty supportive fellow, my husband!
You certainly do not have to construct or commission a base or table top. Pick up something at the ReStore; using old dressers is all the rage on Pinterest right now. But, if you create an exterior potting bench, slap some exterior paint on the furniture and seal it with a final coat of polyurethane. In addition, make sure the bottom rests on a dry surface. No amount of exterior paint and poly will protect wood from sitting in a pool of water.
Once the frame of my potting bench was created, I added several special repurposed touches. Gardening and repurposing go hand in hand! A metal headboard makes a great trellis, old windows make great cold frames, and paint stirrers make great garden markers. I chose to add an old leaf rake head to hold seed packets, an antique Coca-Cola tray for collecting and removing excess dirt, and a funnel to dispense my twine. I reused a bulk beverage dispenser that I purchased for a family function to dispense water to my freshly potted plants.
Another way I like to repurpose on my potting bench is by using packing peanuts in my really large planters. They are much cheaper and lighter than potting soil. And, thanks to a regular manufacturing donor, ReStore always has a large supply of packing peanuts for sale. Quite literally, one man’s trash has become my treasure. To hide my peanuts and pots, I added an inexpensive curtain rod and machine washable curtains to the base of the bench.
If your potting bench project gets you in the mood for new gardening knowledge, join us for a free class. Garden Guru and WVU Extension Agent, John Porter, is teaching three hot topic garden classes in Habitat for Humanity’s Homeowner Education & Community Center starting this month. Register for these great classes on Eventbrite.com: Gardening for Pollinators – Saturday, April 25; Making the Most of your Small Veggie Garden Space – Saturday, May 30; Build Your Own Terrarium – Saturday, June 27. Both green and brown thumbs are welcome!