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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Potting time is almost here

Hooray! The fashion show I've been working on at our high school was a big hit last night. Best of all, I now have one major focus, the plant sale on May 10th. Of course, in order to get ready for the plant sale I need to garden.

My gardens really need a good overhaul and that means lots of plant dividing. Since I can't maintain more beds, I need to do something with those extra plants. So the season here begins with potting. Lots and lots of potting.

Before dividing and potting plants I need to set up my work area. That is something I plan on doing this weekend (weather permitting). The first few years here I had a nice work area along the side of my shed. The only problem is that it's in the back corner of my property, far away from my perennial borders and also not near any hose or sprinkler outlets.

Early last year I set up an area on an old table that was about to fall apart. I moved it closer to the center of my property, closer to water too. It's important to set your work area up in the shade. While it can be chilly in the shade on cool spring days, your plants will appreciate not baking in their pots right after being chopped to pieces.

Since my goal was 500 pots for our plant sale and another 100 pots or so for me and friends, I found that leaning over that lower picnic table was not the best thing for my back. At that same time the supports on two of our old picnic benches gave away.

A great idea occurred to me. I set up two saw horses and then placed the long benches on top. This gives me a higher work area so I don't have to bend. There's enough clearance underneath that I can wheel the wheelbarrow all the way under or I can put large trash bins for compost scraps there.

An unused ring for firewood make a great temporary pot holder.

I can't say this is the most beautiful corner of my yard but it's in the right location. Easily accessible to most of my gardens, only a few yards from where I'd pull my car (in case I need to transport plants) and shady most of the day.

My biggest downfall here is that grass doesn't grow in this spot so the ground is either dirt or mud. I've put off putting wood chips down here because my wonder-doodle Calie loves to keep me company while I pot up plants. I've heard that those coarse chips can be bad for her feet.

What does your work area look like and what conditions are important to you?

10 comments:

Kim said...

Hey Melanie,
We must be on the same wave length…Paul and I just redid our work area by the garage. We're planning on putting in a hose bib and have purchased some durable plastic display tables like they have at nurseries. Never thought of using the wood ring!
Kim

Melanie said...

Hi Kim, I'll have to come over and see your new set up. Make sure you set those work tables nice and high. I have mine set above my waist line, it makes it much easier to work there.

I've been looking all over for that great knife that Paul got me for Christmas one year. Everybody in my class wants one. It still slices through roots like butter. One woman hoped out loud I wouldn't cut my finger with it while demonstrating how it works.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Wow ! .. I am so jealous .. I wish I could see what plants will be in that sale too.
My work area .. too funny .. we have a small yard/back garden so I actually work on our patio table because we sit on the deck with our chairs and little table there most of the time .. I have a potting table in the shed and shelves .. but hubby and I share the shed (hubby with fishing/golfing gear) .. I'm half way to the outside faucet and rain barrel ..
I just bought 2 new bypass pruners plus a few new hand tools today !
Throwing out the old raggedy pruners and starting fresh !
Joy

Blue Fox said...

I use my greenhouse for just about everything! I have, like you, a higher bench for seeding, because even though I'm short it is easier on the back and neck if you're not bending. I use the wheelbarrow a lot for filling flats; I put a board across one end to balance the empty plug trays on so I don't waste any of the precious Sunshine mix. I have a frost free hydrant in the greenhouse, so even in the middle of winter I could have water if I wanted! I find the most useful things are old tables that don't mind being out in the weather. You can store things under them, and make a temporary potting area for hanging baskets or other seasonal crafts like wreaths. I never mind being outside in the cold, as long as I'm dry!

Jean said...

Hi, Melanie
Very interested in your potting area. I am very fortuneate as a couple of years ago my husband made me for my birthday, a potting shed!!
It is made of galvanised plastic so lets in plenty of light, and used my late fathers carpenters workbench for me. I have lots of shelves as well.
Don't know what I would do without it now!

garden girl said...

Melanie, That's a great work area you have. Very resourceful, recycling the old picnic table bench and making it ergonomically correct too.

I sit on the patio and make a mess. Sometimes I sit on the lawn instead since I don't have to sweep up the mess there.

My work area is very portable, and it's wherever I decide it to be at the moment. Of course, I don't have five or six hundred plants to pot up either!

N. & J. said...

Since we still live in an apartment and are attempting to grow seeds we don't have a real work area. For awhile we used the living room but after getting wet dirt on the carpet we switched to using my office building storage area because it has a concrete floor and plenty of space. Plus that is where we are germinating our seeds since it is nice and warm.

sisah said...

What a relief.... after seeing such perfection in your garden I ´d expected an immaculate green-house with all extras, Melanie. This looks alright to me, and the idea to use that ring as a storage rack for pots is brilliant. It looks handy. This encourages me to show my ancient glass house ( it falls apart:-) ), which I use for potting.
I don´t think wooden chips will harm Calie´s feet, I even think this is better for dogs than a surface made with stones.
By the way, there is a question I asked you in my comment of the 3rd, please could you have a look?

Kim said...

Melanie,
Were you looking to buy more knives?
They were from Lee Valley Tools.
http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.aspx?c=2&cat=2,42578,40769&p=44046

Kim

Kathleen said...

I'm in the same category as Garden Girl ~ I sit on my patio and make a huge mess! Then hose or sweep it off. You have quite a system arranged and it looks like it works well to me.