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Potting bench..  RSS feed

 
Trevor Newman
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I am looking into installing a potting bench in my unheated hoophouse. I will be using it to store potting soil and potting up plants. I am curious if anyone knows of any good plans or ideas. Also, any considerations regarding multiple funtions( i.e. compost bin beneath it to heat the table) would be appreciated!
Thanks
 
ronie dee
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Location: NW MO
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Discarded pallets would be a way to save $ome money.
 
Pat Maas
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Location: McIntosh, NM
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Hi Trevor,
     Quick answer here, milking time. I'm building one using a sink. Will leave the down spout plumbing intact with a bucket underneath. Will post the design a bit later today as have  manure and shavings runs today. It makes for easy cleanup and can store a bag or two of soil less mix underneath with the bucket . Mine has to have a door on it because of my cats-they love tearing those bags up.

Ok, finally got slowed down enough to post the pics I had drawn up. This is from a potting bench I saw at a farm in the South Valley-part of Albuquerque. Got a chance to use it and get a good look at it. No measurements on it, but for me its matter of sizing it for my 5'6" and using the materials already at hand. 
potting bench1.JPG
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my partner made one that was supported by 55 gallon barrels of water - thus providing thermal mass for air temperature stability. 
 
Ken Peavey
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Location: FL
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55 gallon drums are handy.  I had one in the old greenhouse, put an 8 watt pump in it, moved the water through some tubing left in the sun then back to the barrel.  Heated the barrel to 120-140, gave up the heat overnight.  Cost to run the pump 6 hours/day is about 12 cents/month.  Run a section of hose through the tank to the hot water side of a faucet (or just a 2nd hose nozzle) and you get warm/hot water.

A greenhouse or hoophouse is a labor of love.  There seems to be no end to adding to it here and there.  I built mine with scrap material.  first bench/workstation was a piece of scrap plywood on top of a couple of concrete blocks.  Some studs came across my path, they became a frame for the plywood.  Took a sink from a bathroom renovation.  Ran a garden hose for water supply, a bucket for the drain.  A drain bucket lets you save water if its an issue.

A sink is handy for washing hands and pots.  If space is a limiting issue, consider putting a piece of plywood over the top of the sink if you go that route.

Shelving is especially handy.  If it does not have a plant, its got a stack of pots or tools.  If the shelf is empty, give it time, it will fill up with something.

I used visqueen for the roof cover for several years.  Condensation regularly produced water droplets which fell on my clipboard, making a mess of any notes.  The solution was a couple of plastic shoeboxes with lids-about a buck each at Walmart or the Dollar Store.  Keeps stuff dry, stackable so they take up less shelf space.  One has drip tips and parts, one has tools/scissors/knife/staple gun, one for all the little stuff that accumulates.

I had 2 small tables in the old GH, 1 was 2'x3', under it was peat moss, and a tub of blended potting soil.  THe other was 2'x4', under it was the barrel, hose, cords, and pots. 

Lowe's replaced their entire kitchen cabinet display, I picked up an 8' countertop and base cabinets for $25-the old display.  Has the showroom advertising pasted to the front.  This is all in the new GH.  Stuff can be had for cheap,.

A plywood top will wear, stain, absorb water.  Painting can preserve it.  If there is no back wall, a stud or piece of lumber can be screwed on to serve as a backsplash, keeps things from falling over the back.

If summer heat can be kept down with shade curtains or ventilation, a worm bin would fit in.  The mass would help to buffer the temperature.

How about putting some catfish in the water barrel?  You get the thermal mass and a sandwich to boot.  When you change the water, use it on your plants.



 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Ken Peavey wrote:
55 gallon drums are handy.  I had one in the old greenhouse, put an 8 watt pump in it, moved the water through some tubing left in the sun then back to the barrel.  Heated the barrel to 120-140, gave up the heat overnight.  Cost to run the pump 6 hours/day is about 12 cents/month.  Run a section of hose through the tank to the hot water side of a faucet (or just a 2nd hose nozzle) and you get warm/hot water.


How cool!

Any possibility to drive a system like this using the thermosyphon effect, for those without a pump or without easy grid access? Even with the barrel at mostly the same height as the solar collector, I think it would be possible to drop in a circle of thin HDPE that roughly fits the barrel, to mostly isolate the hot input water from an upper hole from a layer of cold water draining through the lower hole. Some slight buoyancy would re-set this barrier once the temperatures equalized & there was no flow.
thermosiphon_barrel.PNG
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Ken Peavey
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Location: FL
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For the 55 gal drum I have 475 feet of 3/4" tubing.  A thermosiphon could work, but will require lots of exposure surface to achieve significant heating. 
 
rose macaskie
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    Love ken peaveys idea about using oil drums full of water that provide thermal mass to  temper the temperature or even serve as radiators, as legs for a potting table surface.

   I  knew a potting shed, the potting surface was a wide shelf i suppose higher than a normal table and ran the whole length of the shed on the south side that was also the windowed side. It was a thick wooden shelf long and wide enough to make working on it comfortable because you had plenty of space. It was a space that had been kept pretty bare as i remember it except for a mound of soil and somewhere in the shed was some sand to mix with the soil i was tuaght to take peranium cuttings there. Strings onions hung in the shed giving it a special smell.
    I don't know where the pots where washed, there was a tank in the green house though i doubt pots were washed there, maybe they were washed somewhere else on the farm on a different day.  agri rose macaskie.
 
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