• In which, I clean up my potting bench

    by  • May 13, 2011 • Design, Garden, Garden art, How to, Projects • 13 Comments

    The difference between trash and junk
    I posted a picture of my terribly messy potting bench area on my FB page, Flea Market Gardening, and asked for help with what I should do with it. They posted tons of ideas and I’ve been working on it for the last couple weeks. Here is the “before”:

    An awful mess...and unuseable

    An awful mess...and unusable

    Why do we pile things up against a wall like this?

    Even worse, weedy and depressing

    Even worse, weedy and depressing

    I bit the bullet and cleared everything out of the area, which is on the side of our 8×16 ft shed.  It looked worse than before! This shed is seen as you enter the back patio area and where friends usually arrive. Distressing!  I read through the comments again that the Flea Marketers had offered and went out to look over my stash of junk behind the goat shed.

    Junk or trash?

    Junk or trash?

    Steinbeck liked it and I like it

    If I seem to be over-interested in junk, it is because I am, and I have a lot of it too — half a garage full of bits and broken pieces. … I do have a genuine and mostly miserly interest in worthless objects. My excuse is that in this era of planned obsolescence, when a thing breaks down I can usually find something in my collection to repair it — a toilet, or a motor, or a lawn mower. But I guess the truth is that I simply like junk. — John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley

    Before moving from Fullerton, a small suburban city in Orange County, California to  here, when I’d find an old wheelbarrow or old window in the trash, I would snag them and carry them home.  I once made my walking partner, Dori, help me carry a nice wooden screen door home to our houses which were set opposite each other on the street. One trash day we found two identical wooden birdhouses, one for each, and an old ladder for her garden (I already had several) and she was a bit more sold on scrounging. Yes, I like junk. It’s amazing what you can find when you look, and I actually can’t explain it, but I have been reusing junk for a long time in the garden.

    Finding 'good' junk and starting to get ideas

    Finding 'good' junk and starting to get ideas

    After looking through the stash of old windows, shutters, doors …and some of the old wood found around the place over the years, I set up an arrangement of them on the bench and we (Tractor man and I) went to work putting those up and adding some shelves.

    Shelves up, all the good stuffola set out and suggestions taken

    Shelves up, all the good stuffola set out and suggestions taken

    Good Junk:
    old window
    shutters
    black shelf brackets
    old wood for shelves
    Boraxo soap holder
    wrought iron twine holder
    Bauer pots
    rake for a tool holder
    mailbox
    old crate
    galvanized tubs

    Bad Junk:
    Nursery pots
    ‘too cute’ doodads
    broken chairs
    plant tags and labels
    rusty stakes
    broken cupboards
    broken pots
    broken stool
    old baskets-broken
    wheelie bin full of trash
    old plastic pots

    During all this was found, a home for my seedling trays, possibly

    During all this, was found, a home for my seedling trays, possibly

    I sorted through all the junkola and separated the good stuff from the trash. The nursery pots that can be, will be recycled and the rest taken to the dump. It feels good to get the potting bench functional again and more presentable and I’ll post again if we make more progress. I hope to find a faucet for the sink so it can be hooked up to a hose to make the sink really usable.

    I like this area. It will be easy to work here.

    I like this area. It will be easy to work here.

    To do:
    it needs plants around
    lower shelf on bench
    hook up faucet
    find a better chair
    gravel ‘floor’
    add color somewhere

    This has been such a rewarding project and now I can really play in my new functional garden ‘kitchen’

    About

    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.

    13 Responses to In which, I clean up my potting bench

    1. Nell Jean
      May 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm

      Marvelous post. My bad junk list is so much longer than my good junk list even though I haven’t written them down to see. It must be so. Maybe this was the impetus I need to get started.

    2. May 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      It looks so great now!
      fantastic job:)
      xoxo
      bB
      please stop by and say hi
      http://www.itsybitsybrianna.wordpress.com

    3. May 16, 2011 at 9:26 am

      Nell Jean, Thanks so much for your kind comment. Sometimes it takes friends to help start you off.
      Brianna, good luck with all your artistic pursuits. You can do anything to set out to do, I’m sure!

    4. May 16, 2011 at 9:52 am

      OOO! I love BEFORE & AFTERS! What an incredible turn around you’ve managed to achieve here, Sue! It looks quite delightful and, were I to arrive at your home, I’d make a beeline for that area to have a closer look! Plants will definitely improve what you’ve already accomplished and the addition of a faucet, GREAT IDEA! Gravel, a bit of colour…have fun playing around with your tableau…it’s not a static thing…you can switch things around on a whim! That way, you’ll keep it fresh and fun for yourself, too! I really LOVE what you’ve done…now, how about popping on over here & giving me some good pointers! 🙂

      • May 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm

        Thanks, so much, Desiree! It’s a bit like a ‘play kitchen’ now. Not quite finished, but so much better! I wouldn’t have done it, I’m sure without the peer pressure, or if I knew you were visiting! hahaha

    5. May 16, 2011 at 9:52 am

      OOO! I love BEFORE & AFTERS! What an incredible turn around you’ve managed to achieve here, Sue! It looks quite delightful and, were I to arrive at your home, I’d make a beeline for that area to have a closer look! Plants will definitely improve what you’ve already accomplished and the addition of a faucet, GREAT IDEA! Gravel, a bit of colour…have fun playing around with your tableau…it’s not a static thing…you can switch things around on a whim! That way, you’ll keep it fresh and fun for yourself, too! I really LOVE what you’ve done…now, how about popping on over here & giving me some good pointers! 🙂

    6. May 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm

      Sue, that is so absolutely fabulous! You have some great gardening junk there girl. I do love the addition of the chair and the prints and all those tools you hung up. I only saw the bare bones version without that added color. Bravo!

    7. May 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm

      Sue, that is so absolutely fabulous! You have some great gardening junk there girl. I do love the addition of the chair and the prints and all those tools you hung up. I only saw the bare bones version without that added color. Bravo!

    8. Tractor Man
      May 17, 2011 at 11:20 pm

      Didn’t realize it when Sue asked me for help but then I realized that I really enjoyed working on the area and I’m proud of Sue. Still hate the shutters on the end though.

      Larry (Tractor Man)

    9. Sue
      May 18, 2011 at 4:36 am

      It looks great!! So cozy too! I’m a FB fan! 🙂

      • May 18, 2011 at 7:58 am

        Thanks, Patty, it’s been a great project. I’m looking for more areas to clean up now. Considering Tractor Man’s comment below, maybe I should start looking at his stuff!

        Tractor man, I appreciate your help!

        Thanks, Sue! The FB page is loads of fun…I love all the photos people have been sharing.

    10. Sue
      May 18, 2011 at 4:36 am

      It looks great!! So cozy too! I’m a FB fan! 🙂

    11. Pingback: Rainy Spring Walk with Maggie | Sierra Foothill Garden

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