The Potting Shed

Dreams do come true.  For years and years I dreamed of having a picturesque Kitchen Garden and Potting Shed—the dreamy, romantic kind traditionally known as a potager in France or a kailyard in Scotland. When Danny and I moved to retire in the country, I was sure my dream was about to become reality. 
In my dream, I planted heirloom seeds, harvested vegetables and herbs from my garden and used them for preparing and preserving food for my family.  I decorated my Potting Shed in a nostalgic, rustic style and invited my grandchildren to come for “tea.”  (I didn’t even have grandchildren yet, but I was dreaming.)  

My dream did, indeed, come true. I have my Kitchen Garden and Potting Shed, and I have 12 grandchildren. (The oldest is ten!)  They love play-acting as ninjas or fairies in the garden and having tea parties in the Potting Shed. Besides the gardening, I also keep free-range chickens, another dream realized. We enjoy eating and sharing the fresh nutritional eggs, and our “Chickie-Babes” are great garden workers. They till the soil with their scratching, and we use crushed egg shells and composted manure as fertilizers.

I started blogging in order to share our ideas and how-to's with others since I also appreciate learning from others and seeing how they do things. We designed our Kitchen Garden and Potting Shed and did the work ourselves on a minimal budget, buying rough-hewn red oak and hemlock at the local Amish lumber mill and antique doors and windows for five dollars each at the city recycling center. This is my story of God blessing me with dreams coming true, of loving living in the country and being a Grandma (except my grandchildren call me “Beba,” and I call them my “Bebabeans”). And I'm going to share step-by-step how we built The Potting Shed without spending a lot of money.  (It does certainly help a lot to have the skills or a husband with the skills to do the work.) If you just want to look at photos of the finished shed, stay here, but if you want to see how it is constructed, go here.  

Welcome to my Potting Shed! It is one of my favorite spots to start the day with a cup of coffee in the morning, take a break with a glass of meadow tea in the afternoon, or relax with a glass of wine in the evening.  Come on in.

The windows are set in and are hinged. The front and back windows lift up; the side windows open horizontally. Hooks on the edges of the windows attach to chains on the wall or ceiling to hold them open.

I made the curtains from inexpensive muslin. In keeping with the simple, rustic look, the curtains are hung on dowel rods that slip through eye screws attached to the windows. The curtain ties are strings of jute tied to the dowel rods.

I decorated the Potager with anything I could find around my house or at second hand stores. A wrought iron candle holder hangs from the ceiling as a chandelier.  There is no electric in the shed. I used battery operated candles in the votive cups. I fastened an old crystal at the bottom of each holder and dressed it up with strings of plastic beads and a berry wreath.

We wanted to keep the rustic look both inside and out. We kept the floor and walls bare unfinished wood. We made the furniture from pine and old spindles and painted it with a distressed look. The chairs were donated by a nearby funeral home that was getting rid of them.

Simple shelves with brackets on the gable ends and the wall braces provide space for more decorating. A tall, crude cabinet built into the corner provides storage.

A dear friend gave us his old, vintage work bench. Not only does it blend perfectly with our rustic style, but it has a lot of sentimental meaning to us.

The cabinet stores a broom, step ladder, and extra folding chairs, along with some gardening supplies.

The bulk of the garden tools and supplies are stored in the lean-to shed on the side of the Potager, right inside the garden where they are easily accessible.

The door is cleverly designed to fold as it opens into a narrow space. Rakes and hoes can be hung on the inside of the doors as well as on the walls of the storage shed. There is plenty of room in this small space to house my Dad's vintage wheel barrow and push reel lawn motor, a galvanized tub, and a garden bench.

Hand tools, watering cans, kneelers, and other accessories hang from nails tapped into the side boards. It is amazing how much can be neatly organized in this small space.

We strategically placed the garden where it faces south and gets the most sunlight all day, yet the Potting Shed itself is right next to a grove of trees that anchors it to the property and keeps it from looking lost or floating.

Our grandchildren enjoy the Potting Shed as much as we do!

Shhhhhh . . . . don't tell.

It's a jungle out there, especially for a Minnie Ninja!

Great-B-Pap-Pap enjoys it too!

Where dreams come true!

Thank you, friends,  for taking the tour. Thank you, God, for all your blessings, especially the spiritual ones.