Keeping garden tools and supplies tidy and handy can be a challenge if you don’t have a dedicated space such as a shed or greenhouse. Fortunately, it takes little space to set up a gardening workstation in the corner of a tool shed, garage, or covered patio. Repurpose old containers, furniture, and garden cast-offs to fashion a storage-rich potting bench that works as hard as you do.
Storage solutions don’t have to be complicated or costly. Made up of mismatched spare parts (an old enamel-top table and garden gate) and repurposed rescues, this simple potting bench has a small footprint but provides plenty of ways to stash your stuff. If your table feels too low, raise it by setting it atop a piece of plywood elevated on concrete blocks or screwed to a set of rescued ottoman legs. The table will rise to counter height while the plywood creates an additional storage shelf underneath.
An organized potting bench will put the joy back into even the most mundane gardening tasks. Consider how you use your outdoor workstation and plan accordingly. Be sure to include supplies, towels, and cloths for cleaning hands, pots, tools, and tabletop. Add boxes, bins, and containers that are either underused in your home or found on the cheap at thrift stores or tag sales.
Keep containers and pots for plants stacked safely on a shelf or in a cupboard so that they are clean and dry when needed. Good gardening tools are an investment so be sure to clean them after every use. Recycle plastic pots or reuse them for other projects.
Vintage canning jars are some of the most useful and attractive items for garden storage that are still relatively inexpensive and easy to find. With their snug-fitting lids, they keep birdseed, soluble fertilizer, and water garden additives dry and fresh.
Use old tins, collectible ceramic pots, or canisters to organize plant markers, ground staples, and plant tags. A vintage cheese box makes an admirable container for seed packets.
An old fishing tackle box offers compartmentalized storage space for all the fiddly bits a gardener finds helpful. Have a supply of small plastic containers in the box for gathering seeds.
An vintage muffin tin makes an ideal seed sorter. Keep glassine envelopes and a marker handy to store and label your sorted seeds.
Use vertical space, too, to create a lot of storage in a small footprint. A charming old gate gives us space above the potting bench to attach baskets, pin up seeds to be planted, and dangle a personal memento or two. But other solutions, such as a pegboard panel (painted for a pop of color), a stack of narrow shelving, a row of wood crates, or repurposed wall cabinets, would work as well.
Include a spot to post helpful notes, or reminders. The wire grid on our gate does the job with the help of old clothes pegs.
Mount a vintage locker basket to the wall to keep soil additives, rooting powder, and fertilizer within arm’s reach. Hang a series of baskets vertically for additional storage.
Wire baskets provide storage solutions that keep your supplies and tools organized yet visible. Use a mix of sizes to meet multiple needs. The locker basket provides deep space for bagged items, while an old kitchen spice rack and entry mail sorter offer other alternatives on the hanging gate.
Look for products that help you keep your hard-working space tidy. A simple hole in a can lid makes a container for twine so much more efficient. Placed on a wire shelf, it’s at the right height to grab a length of string when working at the table.
A small token of friendship from one avid gardener to another injects an additional layer of charm to this already unique potting bench. Banish boring in favor of personal and charming by including favorite keepsakes that personalize the space without getting in the way of the work at hand. Putter away at your tasks surrounded by things you love.
Potting soil should be kept dry and fresh so dispense it into containers that have tight-fitting lids like this old galvanized chest. Galvanized metal resists moisture and rust, making it an excellent material choice for containers or a potting bench surface.
Include a generous scoop to make quick work of filling a pot. A vintage grain or coal scoop, large trowel, or metal cup will do the trick.
Tip: Give your back a break and keep your soil container in a spot where it’s easy to refill. Once loaded, the container will be too heavy to move easily.
Put old tools on display. Lean them against walls or hang from hooks and nails. Put vintage cans and jars to work as receptacles for supplies.
Ensure that your garden workstation is as uniquely you as it is hardworking. Try these ideas for incorporating your flea market and salvage finds.
Make a potting bench from mismatched pieces. Repurpose an old carpenter’s workbench and a vintage kitchen stool or stack architectural fragments to create a sturdy work surface. Pair an old dresser with a group of wooden beverage boxes hung together as shelving.
Look for potting bench components at restaurant supply outlets or check online listing sites for renovation discards. An old commercial sink makes an admirable workstation when mounted on wooden stands.
Keep your pots, tools, and supplies neatly arranged on open wire shelving that lets a small space look larger. Look for an old step-back baker’s rack to do the job with style. Or add vintage character with an old freestanding kitchen cupboard.
As a serious gardener, you buy things in bulk. Store potting mix, mulch, bulbs, and bags of birdseed in vintage coal buckets, wooden bushel baskets or galvanized tubs.
Take a cue from your cleaning routine, and create a caddy for lugging gardening paraphernalia around your beds and borders. An old wooden trug or wire milk bottle carrier will make it easy to transport a trowel, clippers, plant markers, gloves, and other staples from spot to spot.
© Caruth Studio