Helpful Tips For Optimizing Your Potting Table

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Every gardening pro and green thumb novice knows the value of owning a reliable potting table. These simple but effective benches help to organize and consolidate garden work so that it’s easy, fun and convenient. Whether you decide to purchase or build your own, once you’ve got the basic frame of your potting table set up, there are some handy tidbits you can employ to further streamline your outdoor experience. Some of these add-ons already come with benches, while others can be added on without too much effort.

One of the most important functions of potting benches is to act as storage units for all your gardening equipment. While most models come with a number of tiered shelves for larger object storage, you may want to consider organizing your smaller tools separately. Hooks attached to the side of the potting table keep gardening tools handy but out of the way. Another option is a back screen, made from pegboard, latticework or galvanized metal upon which tools can be hung.

While the majority of tables come with a compartment for the storage of loose soil, keeping any organic material airtight is a concern over time. If your unit comes with a sliding drawer for soil, you may want to seal the surrounding edges to make the compartment as airtight as possible, or instead an ideal solution is to store soil in Tupperware containers. For anyone wishing to start a compost heap but lack the space or don’t want to deal with the smell of decay, a lidded bucket works equally well.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing or constructing a potting table is to make sure the height is at a good level for optimal comfort. You will more than likely be spending a considerable amount of time working at your bench, so plan ahead. Benches that are too low and require you to bend over will strain your back. On the other hand, people that have trouble standing up for long periods of time may prefer to opt for a model of potting table with a countertop lower to the ground that can accommodate a separate seat.

Mobility is of special interest to certain gardeners. Adding wheels to the bottom of or having a foldable table are ideal space savers and can be moved around as needed. If you’re buying or have already bought a potting table you won’t have much leeway in this department unless your model already comes with these features, but for do-it-yourselfers it’s something to consider. If your potting table is stationary and there’s no way to move it into storage for the winter, using a waterproof tarp can cut down on seasonal wear and tear.

Although metal and plastic potting benches are equally popular choices, wood continues to be the classic building material of choice. However, care must be taken to ensure that rotting, warping, cracking and molding do not occur. Once again, tarps will help in this department, but the best thing to do is treat wood yearly with a protective sealant. It will make the wood more resistant to water, as well as preserve the natural beauty and color of the grain. For those folks who work with a large amount of fertilizer, buying a cedar potting table might be a good idea. The natural aroma of the wood can help cut down on odor, not to mention cedar is a great-looking and long-lasting hardwood.

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Tonya Kerniva is an experienced research and freelance writing professional. She writes for outdoor and patio web sites including

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