What is a Potting Shed?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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A potting shed is a structure in a garden which is designed to be used for storage of garden tools and to accomplish various gardening tasks. The more general term “garden shed” is also used, to stress the fact that a potting shed is typically used for much more than just potting. Any reasonably sized garden will typically benefit from the installation of a potting shed, and potting sheds can be built from scratch or assembled from kits.

As the name implies, once of the primary roles of the potting shed is as a space to repot plants. Repotting can be a complicated task, and it also tends to generate a fair amount of mess, so it is nice to have a specific space dedicated to this purpose. The potting shed can also be a place to start young plants in the spring, if a south facing exposure with lots of windows is included. In some regions, people grow tender, cold sensitive plants in their potting sheds, making them resemble greenhouses with work space.


A typical potting shed has at least one big workbench, along with plenty of shelving or storage cabinets. The storage in the shed can hold things like potting soil, fertilizer, various garden tools, seeds, bulbs, and other miscellaneous items which are used in the garden. Bigger potting sheds house rakes, shovels, pruning shears, and other large tools, sometimes along with mowers, tractors, and so forth. Well organized gardeners tend to have very tidy potting sheds, although there may be a bit of dirt on the floor; the potting shed of a less organized gardener can look like a chaotic jumble of tools, dirt, and so forth. It is easy for a potting shed to get out of control, especially in the growing season.

Many gardeners like to invest some time in making their potting sheds reasonably nice, creating a pleasant place to work in inclement weather. Depending on the gardener and the size of the shed, the space may include room to repair tools and work on small construction projects which are related to the garden, and seed files, gardening books, and similar items may also be stored in the garden shed, making it a place of reference and inspiration in addition to a practical workspace.

No matter how organized you are, an annual cleaning of the potting shed is an excellent idea. Expired seeds can be discarded, for example, while volunteer plants which have cropped up in various corners can be identified and planted or discarded. Cleaning also provides an opportunity to organize small scraps of material like twine, stakes, and so forth, discarding broken or useless material and filing usable garden supplies in a logical place.


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