Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New-to-me potting bench

When we first moved to the farm I was thrilled that the former owners left a small potting shed. Sited conveniently across from the kitchen garden and parallel to the hayfield (tucked into the windbreak), it would be the perfect place to store all my gardening stuff, as well as a place where I could do my seeding, play in the dirt, and putter.

However after the first season it was no longer a horticulturalist's dream space, but a total nightmare, filled to the brim with a chaotic mess of too many pots, trays and tools. When the snow melted, I pulled everything out of the shed and except for one box of "stuff" that got chucked in there on moving day, most of the gardening items were still useful and needed.

At the same time I've been trying to figure out how to create a more useable work & storage space, I've also been revisiting our poultry-keeping practices. While the chickens thrive in and around the barn during the winter months, I've found it very tricky to fence off an area in the barnyard (adjacent to their laying boxes) that keeps them contained and safe from predators (especially foxes) as the equines share the same space.

For some time I've been thinking about building a moveable coop -- something that will allow the chickens to graze on open pasture within the confines of an electric fence (rather than wander willy-nilly as they are now) -- but I've been put off the building part because of my already too-long to do list. (Not to mention the fact that I've never built a coop before, or anything resembling a coop. Lucas usually does the building, but he's already got enough on his to-do list, and I know I can do it myself and I want to do it myself, but it's still a bit intimidating. Even though I wish it wasn't.)

Then it hit me: I could turn the potting shed (which wasn't working as a potting shed) into the chicken coop. While it might not be moveable right away -- I need to find an old (read cheap) trailer chassis to put it on -- I can at least use it to start the next batch of chicks and then encircle the shed/coop with some electric fence netting.

If I was moving the chickens in, then I needed to move the growing stuff out. I envisioned a space where I could store all the tools, trays, pots and amendments, where there was room to mix and prepare soil, and also a workbench where I could do my seeding and transplanting.

So I set up shop in the drive shed. While the second bay (of three) is currently home to various tractor implements and the riding lawn mower, and the third houses a large pile of wood and offcuts that are too useful to discard (plus some inherited 'junk', like several prison bed frames and a garage door that doesn't fit any building on our land), the first is where I've set up my new-to-me potting bench, using an old bathroom vanity that I found in the barn, plus a jerry-rigged table made with some leftover plywood sheeting.

As the space is unheated and uninsulated, and open to the elements on one side, it can be a bit chilly when the weather turns.

But it's got a great view of the barnyard (complete with bleating goat soundtrack), plus it's bright, spacious (I can mix small batches of potting mix in the Tupperware, and larger batches on a tarp on the dirt floor) and inviting to little hands who want to help.

I hope the chickens will like their new digs; I certainly enjoy mine.
Related Posts with Thumbnails