Hartley Magazine

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What is a potting shed?

Tradition 8 Grow & Store

With spring in the air a place to plant, pot up and generally potter is a fabulous garden haven for the gardener. It doesn’t have to be a shed, but traditionally the gardeners of the house (back in the days of larger estates and kitchen gardens) had a large shed or work room where they worked sowing seeds, taking cuttings, potting plants and more. The potting shed was often where the gardeners had their breaks, ate their lunch and also stored the pots, tools and accessories needed to perform their job. It was a wet weather working space too, a shelter from inclement weather and a place to hang the overalls, store the boots and plan and plot the garden.

Fast forward to the twenty first century and the potting shed is still a working space for your garden. You don’t need a massive plot, your own potting shed can be large or small, but make it yours.

Make your mark

There’s nothing nicer than having your own take on the potting shed. It might be a man cave, a she shed or a corner of your greenhouse. It doesn’t even have to be a shed, or a dedicated potting shed, it’s your place to prepare and plan for your garden. If it has a window then great, you can utilise the light to germinate seeds and take cuttings. If it’s a section of your greenhouse even better, but make sure that the space is flexible as you may need your potting bench to morph into a growing bench when you run out of space in late spring. Ideally what it needs is some storage space for your tools; a sturdy bench at just the right height for you to pot and potter and a chair or a stool.


If you want a greenhouse and a potting shed, but are restricted on space you can buy what is sometimes called a grow-shed, it’s a chimera between the two; half greenhouse/half shed. This can be a good compromise if you have a small plot and want somewhere to pot and potter and somewhere to grow. But remember that you can use part of a greenhouse as a potting shed as well. It’s only in the extreme heat of summer when you might not want to be potting up under glass and by then most of your potting has been done. For me, I like to have an outdoor potting bench in the garden where I can work as soon as the weather allows; so having potting space inside the winter/spring greenhouse allows me to have a greenhouse instead of a potting shed. No reason, if you’ve room and the budget, why you can’t have a potting shed and a greenhouse and an outdoor potting bench too. It’s worth spending a bit of time planning and reviewing your needs before you make a decision and invest.

Size matters

In the same way that the advice is to always buy a bigger greenhouse than you think you need, it’s a useful tip for potting sheds. A large potting bench will take up a lot of space and if you plan to store your tools, compost and spend a bit of time in there, go up a size if you can.

But remember you can have an indoor and an outdoor potting bench, even an old table and stool will suffice if budget and space is tight. Consider using a folding table or a camping table if storage space is restricted.

Whatever you decide, having a place to pot, plant and work indoors and out transforms your use of your garden space and adds a while new dimension to your garden. Enjoy.