Archive: Aug 2012

DIY Potting Bench

So with all those seeds we decided we really needed a potting bench. You can find plenty of pre-made kits for potting benches, but we figured we could build it ourselves for less. It seemed like the perfect project for a mild March weekend. I did some research online (meaning I did lots of Googling) and found a nice plan online. I made a few modifications, calculated the lumber we would need, and we headed over to Lowe’s. We want this thing to last a while, so we bought pressure treated lumber and some heavy duty outdoor screws.

Cutting the legs

See where this is headed?

Assembling the Frame

Next up, insert the boards that create the bottom shelf and the work surface. These boards are not nailed down so we can easily remove them if we need to clean off some soil.

Steffi inserting the boards for the work surface.

Once all of the boards were in place it was really starting to take shape.

Almost done.

The final bench fit perfectly in place behind our shed! It really came in handy as our seedlings grew and needed larger pots. Having a dedicated work surface for the garden is a great addition.

DIY potting bench behind the shed.

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Planting and Growing Seeds

Wow, we’re so far behind… where to begin? Probably best to start where we left off, which was the fall of last year. Our privacy fence had just been completed and we were ready to start planting along the fence.

Every spring and fall we make a trip to our favorite nursery in the metro Atlanta region – Growers Outlet in Loganville. It is about an hour each direction, but the prices are well worth it. We’ve heard people drive much farther.

Growers Outlet

We bought a number of plants to plant between the driveway and our new fence in the backyard – roses, canna lilies, rosemary, Mexican petunias, lots of bulbs for the spring, etc.

Wall Plantings

We also bought three apple trees. One gala from Pike Nusery and a Gala and a Pink Lady from Ison’s Nursery. This allowed us to keep planting well into the winter. (Unfortunatly, we haven’t had any apples this year. Hopefully they will start producing fruit next year.)

The tree from Pike Nursery:

Steffi with the Apple Tree

And the two trees from Ison’s – these were their “instant orchard” variety:

Apple Trees from Ison's

As spring started to arrive a very generous neighbor gave us a ton of seeds to plant. These seeds came from Seed Savers Exchange. They have a great selection of hard-to-find seeds, and the germination rate was really high. We planted everything – vegetables, perennials, annuals, vines, etc.


This was our first year using grow lights. In the past we always just tried putting the seeds by a bright window, but the results were always disappointing. The grow lights did a fantastic job! We had seeds popping up in no time. The grow lights we used were OttLight 20 watt Plant growth Bulbs. Because they were compact flourescent they didn’t get hot, so this helped the soil retain the moisture.

Grow Lights

Some of our seedlings!


That brings us to the early spring. There are a lot more updates to come, so please check back often. We’re going to get caught up!

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