Image source: Frustrated Gardener
It’s time to get organised!
Space is at a premium in greenhouses. There are seeds to store, plants to pot, and tools to tuck away. To make the most out of the space you have available, you need clever, creative organisation.
The first step is to designate different zones. That way you’ll know where everything’s going to go. At a minimum, you need a main planting area, somewhere for your tools, and a separate place for storing compost, plant feed and watering cans. After that, the fun begins!
Here are a few imaginative ideas for organising your greenhouse or potting shed.
Shelving is a great place to start. Mounted along walls or in corners, they’ll keep your tools and even plants close to hand. Consider slatted shelving; this way water will be able to drain away easily if you plan to store plants or seedlings on them.
As Alexandra Campbell, blogger at the Middle-Sized Garden says:
“Gardening storage needs to be waterproof, dirt-proof and hardy.”
She suggests rummaging around salvage yards, builder’s merchants and junk shops for strong wood to use as shelves.
But shelving doesn’t begin and end with the walls. How about an old ladder? Given a new coat of paint, an unused piece of household kit can become a stylish decoration and practical storage solution.
Consider freestanding shelving units. These can be adjusted to the height you need, and many options come with slatted rows as standard, allowing for water and light to get through. This is important if your potting shed doesn’t get quite as much light as you’d like.
Organisation doesn’t stop with what’s on the shelves. Grab some cheap and cheerful plastic or metal bins to store underneath to maximise the storage. Clear plastic boxes, for example, will keep everything dry and easy to see, as well as keeping your surfaces free of clutter.
2. Potting benches
It’s worth making room in a shed or greenhouse for a potting bench. More than just a handy surface that will let you tick chores off your gardening to-do list even when it rains, indoor potting benches can also serve all manner of storage uses.
You can store bulkier items, like bags of compost or rolled up hoses, underneath the potting surface itself. Or use that space for storage boxes or baskets. You can even customize it by adding some extra shelves, or fixing a few hooks to the sides to hang the small tools that you need to keep close to hand.
Potting benches are easy to find in garden centres, but you can also upcycle one from an old wooden dresser; they look very stylish with a slick of bright, weatherproof paint. Or for a cheaper option, why not make one out of wooden pallets?
3. Storage trolley
A storage trolley is an ingenious piece of kit for your shed or greenhouse. Use it to store tools (like clippers or scissors) on top, while keeping the bottom unit for extra items like your gardening gloves or plant labels.
Then just wheel it to the different areas of your greenhouse or shed and you’ll never be far from the tools you use most. It’s essentially a mobile workbench. Just remember to keep the floor clear of debris so you can easily move it around.
4. Greenhouse staging
There are plenty of DIY storage options for your greenhouse, but you can also buy purpose-built equipment. Seed racks, for example, stack vertically, allowing you to grow lots of seedlings in a relatively small amount of space.
Greenhouse staging is highly popular with gardeners - and for good reason. It’s strong, and provides plenty of surface area for planting and storing your seedlings and plants.
Combination staging has a solid surface on top, with slat shelving beneath. It’s ideal for lighter weight items, such as watering cans, rolls of twine, and wellies. But if you plan to store big bags of compost, have a think about splurging for galvanised steel staging; it’s a really strong option that’s worth the extra cost.
Chances are that your tools are currently scattered around your shed and garden, put down where you last used them, or fallen behind a chest and forgotten about. But no more!
An easy solution? Give your empty paint cans new purpose by using them for surface tool storage. Or to take it a step further by storing your hand tools (handle pointing up) in a trough filled with a mixture of motor oil and sand. The oil will help prevent rust, and the sand will keep them clean and sharp. Just remember to give them a wipe with a rag before putting them away.
A magnetic strip, of the kind normally used to store knives in the kitchen, can also be handy for your smaller metallic tools.
Pegboards are great if you have the wall space (and can stand to lose a little light by hanging one), and can be used for either small or large garden tools. The board’s easy to paint as well, if you want to add a bit of colour to the space.
You can also mount a simple garden trellis onto the wall to create storage. A few S hooks will make the most of this extra space.
Stash bigger tools on a purpose-built tool rack (either fixed to the wall or the back of the door) to keep them out of the way, but accessible. An old umbrella stand is a great alternative though, if your wall space is already spoken for.
Is your garden hose left tangled and neglected in the back of the shed?
A simple bucket, mounted with its base against the wall, will let you wind the length of the hose around the bucket’s exterior, and store any hose accessories (extra nozzles, for example) inside the bucket itself.
But a large wall-mounted hook will also do the job. Get one with a steep angle; this will help the hose stay in place.
7. Seeds and bulb storage
Seeds can happily be kept in glass jars, plastic boxes, or tin cans if you have the surface space. But if you have a big collection, you might want to consider an apothecary chest or cupboard. The drawers are small (and there are lots of them), making them ideal for seeds and bulbs, and they often have labels on the front, allowing you to clearly mark what’s in each drawer.
For carrying seeds and other bits and bobs around in the garden, use a vintage milk bottle carrier. These will easily fit jars, pens, clippers and other items you need while on-the-move.
8. Garden labels and signs
Make garden signs and labels out of everyday items for a cheap garden organisation hack. Keeping both your seedlings inside and your plants outside and well-labelled will help you better look after your plants and save head scratching later on.
Use permanent marker to write plant names on wooden spoons, lollipop sticks, and wooden clothes pegs, for example. You can even write the name of the plant on an upturned plant pot.
For a more creative solution, why not paint or draw small pictures of the intended plant and stick them onto the inner surface of old metal spoons? Mod Podge is a good adhesive to stick your drawings onto the spoon, and a few extra coats on top will help protect it. Then just spritz it with some spray-on acrylic.
You can also paint rocks to use as garden labels. Wine corks or timber offcuts will also make good mini-signs. A little bit of extra effort goes a long way here. The Middle-Sized Garden uses broken roof tiles, for example, while the Rainy Day Mum makes little flags with her kids to show which plants are where. Ideal for the potting shed or the planters.
9. Notes, reminders and gardening calendars
While gardening bloggers like Allotment Heaven or The Unconventional Gardener will give you handy reminders about what to plant month-on-month, it’s also worth having a system to keep track in your shed or greenhouse.
A simple DIY planting calendar involves a few lengths of ribbon. Each one represents its own month. Just attach them to the wall and use clothes pegs to pin the seed packets you need to plant that month. It’s an easy reminder of the month’s planting, and a great decoration.
Or, get a whiteboard, cork board or blackboard. You can use these to pin up articles from gardening magazines, listing upcoming garden chores, and your next planting dates.
10. All-purpose garden organisation
Many organisation solutions will already be in your home, just waiting for a bit of imagination.
A toilet roll holder or towel rail, for example, makes it easy, tangle-free storage for gardening twine. And a wicker bike basket becomes handy catch-all storage for items like gloves and cutters when it gets mounted. Pick a spot near the door, and you can grab what you need as you head out into the garden, or put back when you get into the shed.
Bungee cords strapped between a couple of hooks can keep lengths of bamboo, or even larger tools, standing upright and out of the way.
And remember the back of the door! This is prime organisational space. You could go for a back-of-the-door organiser, which has plenty of pockets for storage, or just attach hooks so you can hang up your gardening gear.
What are some of your favourite ways to organise your greenhouse? Share your ideas with us on our Facebook page!