One of the dreaded chores of gardening doesn’t occur that often, but we definitely don’t like it. It involves cleaning out the shed from all the clutter accumulated during the long months when it wasn’t used as a green house and then lugging in the plants. Our 12′ x 16′ metal shed was built to be used both for storage and protecting potted plants during the winter. So to make room for the plants, we have to move some tools and other items to the barn.
Almost every year, we carry plants inside after a cold spell, and then it warms up again for another month. But once, we have put them inside, they stay inside until spring. In March or April when we hope freezes have passed, we bring out the plants. This means it has been warm for awhile. But there have been late freak freezes in past years.
This garden wagon has saved our backs. For several years we used a wheel barrel, bringing one large pot at a time. It was tricky not to dump those heavy pots. It still takes both of us. The two pots shown are smaller and light; but when two large, heavy pots are on board, it takes my husband pulling and me pushing and holding the pots upright.
The first winter we stored plants here, they just barely survived. We used a heater (the red one in the corner) that responds to temperature. But the bare metal walls didn’t provide much of a barrier from the cold.
So the following summer, we bought large sheets of styrofoam and cut them to fit around the metal shelves for the walls. We glued them, but they did not really stick well. But there are enough pots on the shelves to hold the styrofoam in place.
This large Aloe Vera has become a bugaboo to move. It tends to be top heavy and gets away from me. It fell off the cart again this year. So there are always broken tips on this plant. We have transplanted it into a bigger pot several times. So far, it has survived.
The winter after we put the styrofoam up, some of the plants on the floor were shoved up under the bottom shelf. This still put them too close to the outside cold. Now we store buckets and extra pots against the wall. This adds an extra layer of insulation and puts the plants in the sunlight.The shed has a water faucet and a center drain hole in the concrete. Winter sun shines in a small window on the west side, and four fiberglass roof panels to let in light.
Over the years, my fern collection has grown to six pots of Boston Fern and three pots of Asparagus Fern. I started with one of each 22 years ago. Each time we divide them, my husband says no more. Then the roots get so crowded, it’s a necessity. It’s difficult to give them away because we’re the crazy ones who are willing to store them in the winter. OK. I’m the one that can’t throw them away.
Hey, don’t judge how a gardener looks at the end of a long day working outside in a roaring wind.
I’m so grateful that my husband is willing to help me with my gardening obsession.
“You don’t need a green thumb to be a gardener, just brown knees.” Author Unknown