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Potting Bench FirstLook

Yesterday was the Spring Equinox, so it was only fitting that we opened the big boxfrom Gardener’s Supply Company which has been sitting in the front office. We are always eager to get the RainyDayGarden going every Spring. This year’s winter felt especially long. We were not sure if it was because of the long stretches of below-freezing days or the above average amount of snow. Either way, we decided that the best way to get us out of our Winter funk was to thing up some DIY projects for the RainyDayGarden.

One project we had been ruminating on was building a potting bench to use outside. We wanted something functional, low maintenance, and that would last for years. In looking around for ideas we happened upon this bench on the Gardener’s site. The size and style were exactly what we were looking for. After some deliberation we decided that instead of building a copy of the bench we would  assemble that one.

Ever since the FedEx guy dropped the box off, the interns have been circling and sniffing at it. Milo was eager to help us unpack the contents of the box. Once opened, he was especially curious, not of the content, but of the box. Milo did offered to help with the assembly, but that offer was somewhat half-hearted.

The Gardener’s potting bench came un-assembled. There were several large pieces: (top, sides, shelf), a bag of screws and tools, assembly instructions. Solid wood was used throughout (no composites or ply) and the construction appears well done. By the look of things, putting it together does not look like too difficult.

The pieces were made from  FSC-certified Sugar Gum (eucalyptus cladocalyx), a dense plantation-grown hardwood that polishes to a superb finish. Sugar gum is a perfect choice for an exterior potting bench because, like teak, it is strong and weather-resistant. We applaud Gardener’s Supply Company for choosing to sell products made with wood which complies with FSC’s stringent environmental and social standards.

The top is covered with a sheet of zinc. While stainless or galvanized steel may look great as a bench topper, zinc is a better choice for external use. Unlike stainless steel, zinc has a whitish to silvery-gray appearance when “new” but will develop a dark blue-gray patina over time as it oxidizes. Since zinc is non-porous, it is pretty much stain resistant…perfect as a top to a potting bench.

We are going to do some fine-sanding on the pieces and apply some organic oils to bring out the dark honey color of the wood before we put this potting table together. We hope to have an update on our progress later next week.

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