Guest Author - Susan Taylor
When I first got my greenhouse I wanted to cover every square inch with plants, but quickly found out that I needed to find room for a place to work on my plants inside. It is much more efficient and handy than taking them outside. There are fancy potting tables you can buy, but a sturdy tray (I had a stainless steel catering tray) that can be sprayed and disinfected and kept clean works well. Mine is 20 x 15 inches or 50 x 35 centimeters with a slight ¼ inch or approximately one centimeter raised edge and works very well for most plants.
Behind this I placed a small shelf about 12 inches high on which I keep spray bottles and a basket of various supplies. The underneath part of the little shelf can also be used for storage of various small items such as Q-Tips, labels, rhizome clips,
clip on stakes, and other assorted supplies. I have found that putting supplies in closed see-through containers makes it much easier to find what you’re looking for as well as keeps out the damp that will ruin some items.
On the tray I have a container in which I keep clippers, a pencil, and a small pad of paper for note-taking. Under the bench I have a large storage container for bark mix and several smaller containers for other potting materials as well as a variety of pots and baskets. I keep my sphagnum moss in the original plastic with the potting supplies under the bench, but away from any water source.
I put various sizes of stakes in containers to one side so that I can easily choose what will work best for the particular application. Most of the time I use bamboo skewers, but in those instances where a longer stake is necessary it’s easy to pick and choose if the stakes are all together in one place.
A roll of hand towels is a necessity, both for cleaning and taking care of your hands as you work with the plants. A container for newspapers to put down on the tray between plants as you pot and to contain the old potting materials is a vital part of keeping your collection healthy. A plastic bag from the grocery store can also be used for this if you have a good supply of them. I keep a trash container with an old plastic bag in it for trash which should be emptied whenever you have discarded plant materials in it.
The secret is to keep those items that you use most in a handy and accessible place so that you do not have to hunt to find them. Each of us has a different way of doing things and favorite tools. Design and put together a place where you feel comfortable and happy working with your plants.