My Garden Shed Use Plan

>> Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's been another long break between postings here on the Growing The Home Garden Shed page.  If you follow me on Facebook or read my main gardening blog you know how busy I've been with starting my own nursery.  It's been a challenge and even though I started off with the attitude that I should count a single customer as a success I'm constantly dreaming of "what if"s.  The good thing about dreaming is that it inspires you into action.  But what good is action without a plan?  My overall plan has several dimensions to it one of which is the shed itself.  I named my nursery Blue Shed Gardens after the shed itself that has become a focal point in our backyard.  My dad and I built it together and as it turned out to be it was one of the last projects we worked on together.  He passed away nearly a year ago due to a metastasized form of cancer. I'm grateful I got to spend the last few years of his life living nearby and working on projects like the garden shed.  I thought naming my nursery after the project we built together was a fitting tribute.

The shed isn't just going to be for a name, its functional too.  During the winter it will shelter any slightly tender plants, giving them at least a 10 degree buffer between the outdoor temperatures and the in side the shed ones.  It may not sound like much but ten degrees can be the difference between a whole hardiness zone on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

My other plan is to use the shed as a plant propagation house!  I have a couple issues to solve before I can use the shed as a propagation house.  My main concern is bringing down the temperature inside.  I need to cover some windows with a shade cloth of some kind to prevent the skylight from letting in too much sunshine.  I also need a way to circulate the air from the outside to the inside and back out again.  That could be down with a fan however fans require electricity and there isn't any inside the shed! I've considered adding solar panels (aff. link to FarmTek) to the shed to provide lighting and electricity for other uses but haven't gotten around to it yet!

For propagating plants I'm constructing a mist system that will function on a set of timers to take the human error part out of the equation.  In general these systems require electricity to operate the solenoid valve so I'm substituting battery powered timers hooked to the house faucet for now until I can do better.

That's the plan at the moment for the shed. I have some work to do!


October Garden Shed Update

>> Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Since my garden shed's construction was complete my updates have been less frequent. OK it's not really complete yet but the physical structure is finished. (Feel free to check out the YouTube slideshow on the shed's construction) There is a huge list of things I would like to add or improve on the shed and over time I'll be tackling them one at a time.  As a busy stay-at-home dad it's tough to find times to get the shed worked on and take care of everything else that needs done. This past weekend I spent a little time tinkering and fixing up a few things on the inside to get it ready for winter. 

Here's what I accomplished:

  • Cut a cabinet to fit under the front left window.
  • Moved a cabinet to fit a countertop.
  • Cut and added countertops to the back cabinet, the front left window cabinet and one that fits in between the two recycled patio doors on the left side of the shed.
  • I cleaned out some of the junk that was accumulating like old plastic sheets that I used for extra winter window insulation.
  • Added a shelf.
  • Added an old medicine cabinet to a wall.  It has a mirror which will add a little reflectivity for light and has storage.
  • Moved around a few pots.

Here's a few pictures of the inside of the shed:

This is one of the cabinets on the left side of the shed. I found two narrow cabinets at the dump on day and brought them home to use for storage and counter space.  One counter top had to be cut to fit but the other one was just about right. In between the two cabinets I cut and fit a wire shelf to use for holding plants. I had to pack the shed up before I took the pictures so please excuse the mess!

On the back wall of the garden shed is a cabinet that until now was topless!  Now it has a nice smooth working surface for potting, planting, or other projects with a great view of the woods behind us.

The medicine cabinet came from my parents house and has been sitting around for a long time n the shed. I'm glad I was finally able to put it up. Inside I'll locate my mower and weedeating supplies.  
Along the left wall and up next to the rafters I installed a shelf for holding pots.  It could be used for storing all kinds of supplies but around here used pots are certainly in need of good homes!

Thanks for visiting the garden shed!


It's Been a While!

>> Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's been a long long while since I've updated this page about my garden shed. Of course if you follow me on the main The Home Garden page you probably know why my garden activities have slowed down over the last couple months. I won't go into detail in this post but if you follow this link you'll see the main reason that gardening and my garden shed hasn't been a priority.  This past weekend I was in the shed tinkering around and trying to see what work still needs done, and there is quite a bit to do.

Here's the list:

  • Build the potting bench. I have three cabinets and several counter tops that needs sized and placed in the shed to become an elaborate potting bench.  Ideally that will be the place where most of my potting is done.
  • Clean up all the scrap wood. I'm a pack rat and can't ever throw anything that could conceivably be used for something away. I need to be brutal and clean out anything that doesn't need to be there out of the shed.
  • Finish the flooring. I used brick for much of the floor but haven't run across any free bricks in a while. I will probably end up buying some paving stones to use in the unfinished spaces. They can always be replaced and reused somewhere else should I find a mother load of bricks.
  • Paint the doors and windows. This was supposed to be my spring job but I was never able to get to it. I guess that will be my fall job.
  • Plant the green roof overhang. This task has literally been hanging over my head now for some time.
  • More shelves need built for the inside of the shed. Shelves for pots, shelves for plants, and shelves for anything else I could possibly think of. 
That's enough for now. I'm sure I could come up with a hundred other things to do for my garden shed but realistically, when would I ever get to them?


Garden Shed - April Video Update!

>> Friday, April 22, 2011

This is the first video update from the garden shed. Hopefully I'll be able to add more videos to The Home Garden over time include how-to's and mini-garden tours! I hope you enjoy the look inside my messy construction and plant filled shed. Please be forgiving, as always it is a work in progress!

This video was made with my Sony HDRCX130 HD Video Camera!


Garden Shed Plant Propagation Update

>> Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This year was the first year I've been able to house my cuttings in the garden shed. It's been great so far. There's no heat but the plants have been protected from the coldest of the winter lows. Essentially I've moved them 1-2 heat zones south without having to leave my yard. 

Here's a look at the garden shed plants:

Several hydrangeas are sending up new foliage. Hydrangeas are so easy to root - a great beginning propagator plant.

The Japanese maples that were grown from seed overwintered very well. I'll keep them inside the shed until I'm sure they can safely survive outside. I'm concerned about late winter and spring frosts.

This lilac cutting was either an offshoot of another plant or a cutting. I can't remember which I took the picture of but either way they are all doing fine right now. Lilac suckers can be removed from the mother plant to make more lilacs. These came from my parent's garden.

My red twig dogwood cuttings are putting on new growth. That doesn't always mean they have roots but since red twig dogwoods are so easy to root these cuttings are most likely well rooted. If I remember right (I really should use labels of some kind!) these are the variegated Tartarian red twig dogwood (Cornus alba).

At first glance you might not see much in my roses but despite the dead foliage the buds are swelling. If things worked out right I just rooted some roses!  To root these roses I cut a 5 node stem and added rooting hormone to the base then placed them in a homemade potting soil. I watered them when needed over the winter - which wasn't often. In a couple weeks I'll separate the rose cuttings and see how much rooting I really managed. I have no clue what plant they came from (or at least the variety) but the cuttings came from my in-law's garden.

My salvias are looking good. I need to cut off the brown foliage but other than that they're coming along nicely.

A viburnum - this one is a Shasta viburnum. If you don't have a viburnum in your garden - get at least one!

Another viburnum - Shasta also!

I'm proud to say that my Yoshino Cherry cutting is doing great! Sorry for the fuzzy picture. The shed was getting dark and the flash washes everything out.

Of course not everything made it. This 'Otto Luyken' laurel cutting rooted but must have succumbed to one of the cold dips we had over the winter. It was a late season experiment to see how late I could take a cutting, root it, and get it to overwinter. I guess I learned something!


Garden Shed February Update

>> Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's been a long while since I've mentioned anything about the goings on in my garden shed world. This should take too long, after all it is February, not much is growing, and it's a small world afterall! Let's dig right in and look to see how things have overwintered!

Right now I'm using my shed as a holding area to help shelter my propagated plants. I don't have it heated and I'm not sure that I will - or if I do it won't be much. It stays 10-15 degrees warmer than the outside temperatures on the coldest nights which will allows me to cheat a zone or two with my plants.  Once my vegetable starts get far enough along I'll place them in the shed to harden them off and keep the spring frosts from bipping them. (Bipping is the technical term for when something gets hammered by frosts ;))

Up first we have boxwood cuttings. They aren't rooted yet but they are still nice and green. The 'Otto Luyken' cherry laurels in the background are rooted and ready for repotting.

I overwintered about 50 Japanese maple seedlings. Many of them are now budding up nicely!

Here I have some Leyland cypress cuttings. they aren't the greatest of evergreens but if you want a fast growing evergreen screen they will do the trick. Since they are all vegetatively propagated there is no genetic variation in the species which makes them all susceptible to the same diseases..

I have a several salvia plants ready for planting out. They are already putting on new growth in the shed whereas in the garden they are still dormant.

My Schip laurels are doing great. These are very easy to make from cuttings which makes me wonder why they are so expensive in the stores?

Here's a grouping of several small shrubs and trees. Among them are birch, Yoshino cherry, viburnum, hydrangeas, red twig dogwood, and beautyberry. I moved the pyracantha outside today.

I still have a mess awaiting me in the garden shed. Once I get a good day I'll fix up some cabinets and get better organized. My lemon tree looks the worse for wear but it should come back fine. The branches are still nice and pliable. Last year I left it outdoors all winter and it came back so I'm expecting it to be alive and well!

I can't wait to start using the shed this year!


Plant Benches Completed

>> Monday, October 25, 2010

I wrote in my last post about the plant benches I was working on for the garden shed and this weekend I was able to finish installing the coated wire shelf tops. Now I can add plants in to overwinter, hardwood cuttings for rooting over the winter, or maybe even start seeds in the early spring.

Each shelf is covered with the wire mesh you see in the above picture. The plants in the picture below are resting on the 8 foot long and 30 inch wide main shelf.

And here is the 4 foot long and 30 inch wide top shelf. I wanted to leave some head room for plants which is why I didn't run the top shelf the full length of the bench. All the lumber is re-used from other projects.

Total Shelf space:
  • Top Shelf: 10 sq. ft.(roughly)
  • Middle Shelf: 20 sq. ft. (roughly)
  • Under Shelf area: 20 sq. ft. (roughly)
  • Total: 50 sq. ft. (roughly)
There would be a lot more room for shelving if I were to clean up inside the shed more. As you can see there's a lot of cleanup work that needs done (all those pots in the background). I need to find some good places to put them by coming up with some creative shelving ideas!


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