My potting space

Over the last several months, I have tackled cleaning up a messy basement and garage. Good grief, I tend to be a saver, some might say pack rat, but it was getting to be a bit ridiculous around here.  

So, through the pandemic months with nowhere to go, I got busy.

I tossed and trashed bags of items found in drawers and cabinets. I made weekly donation trips to local spots. I fussed and cussed while painting and scrubbing. I took hot showers, pain killers, and even bought a new heating pad to deal with aches and sore muscles.  

Deciding to move my washer and dryer to a new location uncovered plumbing issues that still cause nightmares. My little projects grew and grew and took longer than I could ever have imagined, but I am so happy with what I created.

I have a new laundry room, a new office space that is not my dining room table, and, most importantly, I have a new space devoted to my love of gardening. 

The space is cozy and personal. It has gifts from friends, a handcrafted light catcher filled with trinkets to represent my favorite things, antique wooden boxes, and a table from my childhood that provides an additional work surface.

This space has provided shelter and light for summer plants until they can move outside in the warmer months. It has also provided refuge for me to putz and play during the cold winter months. 

I’m lucky; I have always had spots to store garden tools and equipment. Now I have a little extra room to spread out and work in any weather. And as the saying goes, “One thing leads to another” in the midst of moving tools and equipment around as I used them, I decided the garage needed some attention.  

After removing trash and making more donations, the space was dirty and dingy, but nothing a few cans of paint and the help of a friend couldn’t fix. We created shelving, hung tools, and even a few treasures collected through the years. 

After all of this sorting and deciding how the newly created spaces should work, I have a few ideas about how a potting area works and what supplies need to be handy.

First, give your space a good cleaning. Knock down the cobwebs, clean the window, wipe off the surface, and sweep the floor. This will do wonders for the area and keep you motivated.

Next, take stock of what needs to be repaired, sharpened, or replaced. Treat yourself to a new pair of garden gloves, or at least toss your old ones in the washer. Make sure your garden boots, hat, and apron are in good shape.

Your potting area may be a shelf, table, or room, so the organization will vary. Pull all of your seed packets together. This could mean a cardboard box, a long basket, or a metal tin to keep them dry and critter free. 

I’m sure you have a few tools you use often. A trowel, different-sized hand shears, scissors, and maybe a screwdriver are tools I use almost weekly. I keep these in a bowl of sand that has a few drops of mineral oil mixed in to protect the blades from moisture and rust and keep them handy. 

I also keep twine, a marker, and a notepad close. A few of my reference books are on the shelf, near paper towels, hand lotion, and a work light. Underneath the bench, I have bins of potting soil.

Funny story, years ago, when I moved into the Little House on a Big Hill, I stored an old enameled iron sink. Over the years, I had tried to give it away, but with no takers, I just let it stay tucked away and out of sight. It is very heavy, so I never moved it – until building this potting area. It is perfect for the space. I have a shop sink for messy cleanup, but this old farm sink sure comes in handy for smaller projects, and I’m so thankful no one wanted my sink all those years ago.

If you have the luxury of building a potting area or creating a work table, keep the height in mind. Mine is tall, which means I don’t have to bend over to work, and this keeps my back very happy. I even put my keepsake table on risers to create a more comfortable working environment. This table may be in the potting area, but it’s also where I wrap presents, do crafts, and really, anything else I can do to spend time in this space.

I have vases and baskets indoors, but the larger containers are stored outside. 

With all my shuffling this winter, I created new shelves and space to protect them. Big items like the spreader and wheelbarrow are also in the outside protected areas.  

I have spring fever – because of the weather, the blooming daffodils, and because I have spent months working inside to be ready to spend the next months working outside. My tools, my space, and my energy are ready.