All About Greenhouse Benches
Your DIY Greenhouse is finally complete. It looks fantastic, you are proud of yourself and it is time to have some fun. Next stop: the garden center. Well, not just yet. If you put all your plants on the ground in your greenhouse, you will not be able to plant too many. The cold earth or cement floor are not encouraging healthy growth. Also, you have to think about your back. Your DIY greenhouse needs some organization, and that means that you need some benches.
What are the greenhouse benches used for?
Even if you built a really large greenhouse, it will have to store quite a lot of stuff: plants, of course, but also pots, bags of soil, tools, fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, gloves, watering cans, sprayers and a lot and lot of other things, which you will soon accumulate and find necessary. To store all that you need and to have enough space to move around your plants in order to take care of them, you need a system of shelves and benches.
Besides organizing the space in your greenhouse, benches are fulfilling some very important tasks, which can affect the health of your plants and your enjoyment in your hobby. Your greenhouse benches have to:
- Hold plants, pots, trays, tools and various supplies.
- Raise your plants above ground for good air circulation and water drainage
- Allow you to control the temperature of your pots and trays
- Allow easy access for planting, potting, watering and maintenance.
- Allow you to enjoy your plants in full bloom
A really good greenhouse bench
In order to survive humid and often wet greenhouse environment, greenhouse benches have to be made of materials that would not easily rot or rust. They also have to be solid and strong to hold the weight of plants in pots and trays. They can be fancy, beautiful cedar pieces of art, or an old gate placed on a pile of cinder blocks. The choices will depend on your budget (always that dreaded word!) and on what you plan to plant.
A perfect greenhouse bench will be solid, strong, resistant to rot and rust, will allow free drainage, be resistant to heat (if you plan on using heat pads) and be easy to clean and disinfect. It helps if it is pretty, but it is not crucial.
If you are not ready to grab a hammer and saw, there is a huge choice of greenhouse benches of all kinds on the market. They differ in the material they are made of, in height and in width. Some are single-tiered and other multi-tiered (have more than one shelf). Some are on wheels for easy movement. Some are sold with legs, and other without.
Painted aluminum benches are durable, light and provide optimum air circulation and drainage. White paint is recommended because white color reflects light. They are not very stable and are not suitable for large, heavy pots.
Metal wire benches allow for good drainage and air circulation around plants. They should also be painted to prevent rust. Watch for rust with metal wire benches, especially under heat pads. Re-paint them occasionally with rustproof paint. Like aluminum benches, they can be flimsy depending on the size of metal used, and are not strong enough to support large pots.
Wood, especially cedar, locust, redwood or teak benches are the most beautiful of all greenhouse benches. They are solid and will not decay in the humid greenhouse environment. The wood can be painted, or stained with wood preservative. A wooden bench system is easy to add on if you need more space for your plants. Wooden greenhouse benches are solid enough to serve as potting benches. Wood can be heavy, so think about adding wheels if you plan on moving your wooden benches frequently.
Plastic benches need very little maintenance but are not as durable as metal or wooden benches. They are also not easy to disinfect and are not fireproof, so they are not recommended if you plan on using heat pads.
Concrete benches are extremely durable and resist to practically anything, but should be installed only if you do not plan on moving them. Concrete benches are massive and take up a lot of space, so they are suitable only for larger greenhouses.
Galvanized metal and stainless steel are commonly used for greenhouse benches because they are very durable, strong and easy to maintain.
You will be using your greenhouse benches for many purposes: as potting benches, to plant seeds and seedlings, for placing pots and growing trays, for watering your plants, fertilizing and maintenance. Choose greenhouse benches according to what you plan to do in your DIY greenhouse. If you choose well, they will give you many years of great service, without having to replace them often. Solid, well made greenhouse benches will not need constant maintenance, so that you can focus on what you built your DIY greenhouse for: growing healthy, vigorous plants and enjoying in your gardening hobby through the entire year.
If you enjoyed this article, please check out our post on bench tops and their functions.