Bench Tops for Your Greenhouse Growing Needs
Different people build their DIY Greenhouse for different purposes: some want to grow exotic plants that would not survive in the garden during the cold winter months. Others want to have a head start on the growing season on fruits and vegetables. They need a greenhouse to plant seeds and have mature seedlings ready to be planted outside. Most of us want our DIY greenhouse for doing a bit of everything. We might also want our greenhouse to be our winter sanctuary, a place where we can come and forget the cold wind and the storm raging outside. When choosing greenhouse benches, we have to take into consideration all our needs.
Greenhouse benches can be purchased with or without legs. While legs are important because they provide solid support to the bench top and plants it holds, they work for any type of bench top. Bench tops can significantly vary depending on what we need them for.
Greenhouse Bench Top Basics
While greenhouse bench tops can be made of various materials, they all have to fulfill certain basic requirements:
- They have to be solid and long lasting;
- They have to be made of materials that can withstand the humid greenhouse environment and be able to resist rot and rust;
- The bench top surface has to be free draining in order to provide good air and water circulation;
- We have to be able to disinfect them in order to keep the greenhouse environment free of bacteria and fungus that can seriously damage plants;
Most commonly used bench tops are made of heavy-duty plastic, various kinds of metal or wood.
Plastic greenhouse bench tops are versatile, cheap and easy to maintain. Better quality and longer lasting plastic bench tops are designed in a honey-comb form, which ensures strength and free drainage. Plastic bench tops are extremely adjustable and the whole bench system can be easily extended with bench top tiered support. The support allows you to keep adding bench tops when you need more plant space.
Metal bench tops can be made of galvanized metal, aluminum slats or wire mesh. They are stronger than plastic bench tops and are often painted to prevent rust and allow better maintenance.
Wood bench tops are made of long-lasting, durable wood like cedar, redwood or treated pine. The bench top is made of wooden slats, to allow free drainage and air circulation. Wooden bench tops are very attractive looking and are perfect for the greenhouse that also serves as a conservatory. Although hardwoods are resistant to rot, wooden bench tops can be treated with wood preservative to ensure durability.
What Every Greenhouse Needs
A well-organized greenhouse, regardless of its intended use, needs several different types of benches and bench tops.
Potting bench provides the basic work space in any greenhouse. The bench has to be strong to withstand even the heaviest pots. Since you will be spending a lot of time planting, sowing, potting and doing any of the hundreds of different little jobs with your plants, make sure that your potting bench top is at the comfortable height, so that you do not have to bend, if the bench is too low, or stretch your arms, if the bench top is too high. Most people like their potting benches to be made of wood, to have at least one shelf below the work surface for tools and one smaller, narrow shelf for handy supplies.
A display greenhouse bench is designed to show your pride specimen plants in their full glory. The bench tops can be made of plastic, metal or wood, but the support has to be tiered and at different levels, so that your plants can show best and still have enough light, and water and air circulate freely. You might want your display bench to be on casters, so that you can move it around.
Growing benches are the workhorses of any greenhouse. You will use them to place all your propagation trays, plug trays and seed trays. You can use regular bench tops for growing your seeds and seedlings, but some bench tops are particularly designed to hold seed trays. They are sold as a bench top frame, with seed tray or plug trays of the same size. These trays can be removed and reused for the next crop. Bench top frames are mostly made of aluminum, and can be used together with multi-tiered stands, for optimal use of space. Some bench tops frames are designed to hold water reservoirs, for hydroponics.
You do not have to buy your garden bench tops for one particular use. Any would do to start with, until you learn from experience what you need and what works best. You can also mix bench tops made of wood, resin, metal or plastic, to see which one works best for you.
When building a bench system for your DIY greenhouse, it is a good idea to visit any greenhouses built by your friends and neighbors, to see what they do and what they use. Nothing works like experience, whether it is good or bad. Visiting other people’s greenhouses will also help you to join the network of greenhouse enthusiasts, to get valuable tips, and often free samples of seedlings or cuttings to grow in your own DIY Greenhouse. Very soon, you will be able to reciprocate and show off with your own perfect tomatoes or a true black tulip.