Need to build a repotting area

gibmeister

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I live in zone 5 and I over winter the majority of my trees in a greenhouse kept at around 34 degrees. This causes my trees to come out of dormancy a little earlier than trees kept outside. I normally repot my trees in our kitchen and then put them back in the greenhouse. My wife has become less in favor of me repotting in the kitchen so I am looking to build a repotting area in the basement. I am looking for ideas and possibly pictures of repotting areas you might have. I am looking for things like surface material and depth of the counter, shelves needed cabinet underneath and any other things I should consider as I put this together. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Gib
 

Bonsai Nut

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Consider having an opening in your bench top that you can inset a grate into. Then have a shelf directly beneath that holds a tray / tub. Then you can repot and all the waste soil falls through the grate and into the tub. Makes things MUCH easier. In a pinch I place a piece of plastic grated nursery shelf on top of a garbage can and clean up the root ball while standing.

Keep your repotting tools separate from your nice bonsai tools. They tend to get wet / scratched / abused. (Plus there are unique tools like root rakes you only use when repotting). When I buy a new tool, I retire the old tool to the "repotting" pile.

Cut up tons of plastic drain hole squares and store them in a drawer. Much easier to cut 100 at a time and have them ready when you need, then to stop and cut a square on an ad hoc basis.

Also mix up your potting mix ahead of time in large bulk lots and store it in garbage cans with scoops. Things go much faster if you have all supplies ready and close at hand.

If you don't have a wire caddy or similar storage device for your wire, consider buying / making one, and locate it over your repotting area.

Access to water with a sprayer is important. If you are inside you will have a problem with soil / rocks getting into your drain. Consider making a watering "tray" with a grating on top of a bin - you can water your trees and all rocks and loose soil falls into the bin. You can play with the design a bit to make the tray fit in a shop sink, or you can insert a drain hole high on one side and run a hose into a drain - heavy soil lies on the bottom of tray while water flows out.
 

Ang3lfir3

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those are all good ideas BNut ... spend much time thinking about these things??? :) :)
as a matter of fact there are of a few of those things I need to do this year ...

We don't store our mix premixed since each tree gets a mix specific to it (they are generally the same but tailored to what we know about each tree) instead we keep all the ingredients stored in stacking bins with scoops (of the same size) ... this works great. I have a mixing tub that we can mix the soil in and then add to the pot...
 

Umeboshi

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I love the idea of having a repotting station. Currently I also use my kitchen and this is far from ideal. Soil on the floor and grit in the sink is never good. Great ideas, I now have a winter project.
 

gibmeister

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Thanks Bonsai Nut. Great idea with the hole in the table top. Any thoughts on what to use for the surface? Would formica work or how about ceramic tile without grout lines.

Gib
 

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Thanks Bonsai Nut. Great idea with the hole in the table top. Any thoughts on what to use for the surface? Would formica work or how about ceramic tile without grout lines.

Gib

Depending how large a repotting station you want, I would recommend you consider a prefab laminate countertop. You can buy them at Home Depot for about $45 per 4' section. They have a nice bullnose rounded front, seamless attached backsplash in the back, and you can cut any hole you wish with a jig saw :) They wouldn't hold up well outside, but would be great indoors or in a garage. I use one as a "shelf" over my washer / dryer and the attached backsplash is great for keeping clothes from falling off the back. Super easy to keep clean.
 

Bonsai Nut

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those are all good ideas BNut ... spend much time thinking about these things??? :) :)

If you only knew... I have about 1/10th the space I need for my various interests, so I spend a TON of time fitting a lot of stuff into as small a space as possible. I have to stay pretty organized, LOL. You should see my garage shop - everything is on casters so when I work I pull out my car, wheel everything into place, work, and then clean up and wheel everything back!
 

woodguy

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Also pay close attention to the height of your work surface. You don't want to be hunched over while working. Your back will thank you.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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My bench is similar to what B'nut described; the top is 2x4 framed plywood, with an opening that I can brush soil through, into a removable drawer beneath. I can also remove that top, and my soil screens fit on the top, so I can screen soil into the drawer as well. Hard to describe, maybe I can load a photo later...but warning...I'm not a good carpenter, and it's been WELL-USED!
 

Bonsai Nut

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Here's something else to consider. I am currently cutting needles and wiring all my pines. For much of this work, it is necessary to look DOWN on your tree. I know it's not really repotting, but more of a "styling station" question. But remember that there will be times you want to look AT your tree (eye level) and other times when you want to look DOWN on your tree. You will want to be able to collect trimmings and needles either way.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Here it is, it's about 48" high, and the work surface is 24"x48". It needs to be rebuilt, but I don't think I would change much except making the drawer easier to slide.

Repotting Bench.JPG
 

gibmeister

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Well I finished my repotting area. A friend gave me the cabinets and the double stainless sink. The right side of the sink is hooked to a drain but the left side was left open with a waste basket underneath to sweep the used soil in. Looking forward to spring and my wife will be glad I am not using her kitchen anymore. Thanks for everyones advice.

PS B4.jpg

PS Done.jpg
 

JudyB

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That is quite the transformation. Even seems calm and serene with the tree photo on the bench. Good on you!
 

Joedes3

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Wow, what a differance. Great job.

Does anyone else have pictures of their work area?
 

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