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The User Friendly Greenhouse
Making your greenhouse user friendly. by Peg Diem   The biggest issue in whatever kind of makeshift greenhouse you have or are going to build is to make sure you have plenty of good workspace. A good potting station, and at the proper height should be your first (well maybe second after the shelving) consideration. Too low and you have a major back ache! With so many hours spent here during the winter months, you wouldn't be able to stand up straight. Make sure that its large enough to hold some pots filled with your supplies at easy reach. Pencils, pens and a good permanent marker, a large supply of plant markers, ready-cleaned flat inserts or trays, a small seed sower, some water in a can with a fine rose, should all be within easy reach. For the plant markers, wood or plastic is fine. Wood will rot in a season though. Even though you are sure you will remember which plant is in what pot, after the 4th or 5th potting session it will all become a blur. The first year I planted perennials, I did great labeling the tray, but not each grow pack. When they established their second set of leaves, I inadvertantly mixed the white echinacea with the purple ones. We had to wait for them to flower to figure out which was which.
 To hold our potting mix, we cut a hole large enough to accommodate a good sized plastic tote with a tight-fitting lid. Cut the template just large enough to allow the base of the tote to slide in with its rim sitting firmly on the surface. (Much the same way your plumber installed your kitchen sink.) I keep a trowel in the container at all times, its handy and you don't have to hunt for it. As mentioned before make sure the tote lid fits snuggly, this will help to keep the much needed moisture in your potting mix. The closed lid also serves as another surface that can be washed easily.
   We installed a shelf over the potting table with all of our additives, fertilizers, bulb booster, time release fertilizers and various sprays. Keep these well labeled and dry. There are cup hooks holding scissors, knives and anything else needed to pot, divide or just give TLC to the plants. The next item on my wish list is running water right next to my potting table. I have a laundry tub ready to install as soon as my "plumber-husband" gets around to it. HINT! HINT!
   Finally we have a 1part bleach/9 part water solution (as mentioned above) made up in a container that will accomodate any item used with the plants. If its been used, a grow pack, holding tray or even a plant marker, it must be sterilized before using it again. A single disease microbe or particle of contaminated soil clinging to the underside of a planting pack can wreak havoc on new seedlings.

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