Potting benches, bah!
What, are you some kinda corseted Victorian lady with a parasol and a $3,000 watering cart from Smith and Hawken? Can't pot your flowers on the picnic table like the rest of us?
I know home stores have nice-looking potting benches you can purchase new. For new homeowners, it's tempting to imagine oneself as some refined, uber-organized Martha-bot: planting cutting gardens and hand-twining up the tomato vines and transplanting on a reliable schedule, every six months, with a lovely potting bench as a practical, attractive workstation...
Snap out of it! Potting benches are a huge waste of cash! (300 smackers for this simple thing?!) Plus you gotta fiddle around and assemble everything yourself, which just fritters more of your finite time on earth.
Instead, cruise your alleys and streets on trash day, with an eye for people who are doing kitchen remodeling. (Here are some clues to look for: a constant stream of junk left out for the trash hauler, a fine drywall dust covering everything in sight and the fact they're getting a divorce.)
You may get lucky and score something like this:
Oh my sweet and creamy lord! Isn't this dreamy? My neighbor Amber found this gem abandoned on a street corner - poor little orphan - with the intention of incorporating it into her own kitchen. Lucky for me, that day never came and I swiped it from her trash stash one weekend when she cleaned out her garage in recent junk purge. Thank you, Amber *air guitars*
The nifty red formica counter is easy to wipe clean and the drawer contains seeds, hose nozzles, pruning shears and other hand tools I'm constantly losing. The cupboard has two shelves and stores bulbs and extra pots. If you're worried the wood might rot, seal with some spray gloss. (I plan to store mine away during the winter.) And if you need more storage and prep space than I do, I'm quite certain there will be more displaced kitchen cupboards for the taking - just check out places like The ReUse Store in Minneapolis.
Don't follow the potting bench herd! Be unique! Why spend cash when you can re-use trash?