Perhaps it’s just me, but I love potting stuff up. I enjoy watching the plants I grew from seed, seedlings or cuttings get too large for the containers they are in and require a new home. I also realize that with each new pot I put them in, they come closer to being able to live outside in the ground in my garden. Additionally, I know that each plant I pot up will get a boost from having more space to grow new roots. Again, maybe it’s just me, but I also like looking at large, healthy roots when they are taken out of the pot they were in. Seeing this makes you feel good as a grower. It means you are doing something right.
So where does all this magic happen? On a potting bench, of course. And when you have as many plants as I do (it’s a disease), you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time at your potting bench. Most of these greenhouse, shade house and full sun nursery plants shown below will need to be potted up at some stage. It really is a year-round job.
Around the time I started my garden in 2005, I also built my first potting bench. Some plywood and 2x4s was all I thought I would need. I didn’t believe I would spend much time on that bench. Mainly because I never had any intention of growing that many plants in containers, as I figured anything I bought would just be planted right away in the garden. Gardeners know this is almost never the case. The further we dive into our lifestyle, the more we find rarer, trickier and/or slower plants to grow. We find more reward from growing from seed. We also become hoarders. Because of all this, we pot plants up. A lot. So I say to this, we must love our potting bench.
The wood potting bench I made worked fine. But after a few years it started to rot in multiple places. It was also difficult to clean and was an eyesore. Eventually it came time to buy a potting bench I could be proud of. Maybe even fall in love with. OK, that’s a little weird.
After tons of online research I narrowed it down to the Big Jake’s Sportsman Table. While designed as a bird, fish, shellfish, crab, clam, and oyster cleaning station, it also was marketed towards gardeners. Look how beautiful this thing is.
When searching for a new potting bench I needed one that wasn’t big, as I had a small place to fit it. I also never wanted to have to purchase another table again, so it had to be made from a long-lasting material. I wanted something built to last my lifetime. Plus it had to be easy to clean. The Big Jake’s potting bench had it all. In fact, this was their marketing pitch:
It was love at first sight. But love is not cheap. The lowest price I could find for this potting bench online was $425! That’s crazy, right? You know how many plants I could have purchased with $425? But you know what they say: quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten. Look at the features you get with this bench:
- Made of durable 80/1000 aluminum
- Clear powder coated for excellent corrosion resistance
- All stainless steel nuts and bolts
- Lower storage shelf
- Adjustable feet for easy leveling
- Left and right side garden hose holders
- Upper shelf features drop-in knife and sharpener slots
- Easy-to-clean, one-piece aluminum top design eliminates cracks and crevices
- Included 18inX45inX1/2in thick H.D.P.E cutting board top, at 36in height (UV protected)
- Front of unit features removable waste tray with bucket holder (bucket not included)
- Drain hose and stainless steel hose clamp included
- Cutting board top is engineered with slight reverse angle for water drainage from the front of the unit towards the back
- Table top features a sealed gutter with drain hole to channel away rinse water
- Feet include an extra hole so unit can be screwed onto deck/dock after it has been leveled
- All joints hand TIG welded
Let’s take a more detailed look at some of the key features. Like the powder-coated aluminum body that will last forever. You can also see the cutting board top, lower storage shelf and removable waste tray with bucket holder. The waste tray in the front is one of the best features of the table. It saves me money on soil, as I can wipe all the leftover debris into the waste tray and push it into the bucket for reuse.
The lower shelf is great for storing small pots and bands.
The sealed gutter with drain hole is another great feature. Once you scoop the soil off the table into the bucket, you can use a hose to spray off the top of the potting bench when cleaning it. The dirty water is channeled into the drain and run out into a small rocky area I created. Clean-up is so easy with this potting bench.
The bench has a place to store a knife I use all the time to open potting soil bags or new plants shipped in from eBay vendors. The garden hose holder is really handy as well. From this picture you also get a better idea of the quality construction.
The adjustable feet allowed me to level the table on my uneven concrete pad.
So there it is. A potting bench to fall in love with. My original intent with this post was to write a review on this awesome potting bench to help those searching for a new one. However, I am sad to say that it appears Big Jake is no longer making it. I doubt they had a lot of buyers for a $425 potting bench. Mine is going on 8 years old now and it has been worth every penny.
Before I close this post out I would like to clarify something. I am pretty sure you are wondering why my bench is so clean. Well, it is actually never this clean. I washed it before I took these pictures for the post. Usually it looks like this below. Thanks to all the rain we have had, even what you see below is clean compared to the norm. But even dirty, it’s a damn sexy bench.
I had to end it weird.