Benches are useful accessories to organise plants in greenhouses. They can help maximise space in this structure. Aside from that, they add some decorative touch to greenhouse interior. With their ergonomic height, they usually provide convenience to most gardeners and improve WHS in horticultural and nursery workplace.
Greenhouse benches come in different types. To know which one suits for growing your plants, five types of benches are described below. Read on below to learn more.
1. Slatted Benches
This is the traditional form of benches. Most slatted benches are elevated for at least 2 and a half ft. above the ground. This type of bench provides good aeration to the plants.
Good air circulation is relatively important to plant growth. It minimises the risk of root rot and other foliar diseases especially during winter. On top of that, good aeration dries the plant rapidly after watering.
Slatted type of bench is often made from metal slats or wood. Learn the differences between wood and metal benches below.
Generally, wood benches are more popular not only for slatted but also for other types of benches. They are chosen by most people for their aesthetics and affordability.
Treated lumber is the best option when it comes to wood. Other wood alternatives are locust, cedar, redwood and cypress. These woods are durable. They are also high-resistant to humid environment.
However, wooden benches are more susceptible to insect infestations. They also swell, decay and crack when exposed to humidity, daily watering, and sunlight.
To prolong the lifespan of wooden benches, paint them with copper naphthenate. It can protect wooden benches from decay, fungi and insects.
Metal benches are ideal when growing weighty plants like large ferns and potted trees. But they are more expensive compared to other benches. Even though they are costly, it is more practical to use them. This is because of their low maintenance costs and longevity.
The two common metal materials used for benches are aluminium and steel.
a. Aluminium - Most aluminium staging is durable, lightweight and slatted. They are also maintenance-free and rust-resistant. Apart from that, they provide plants with drainage and good air circulation.
b. Galvanized steel - Since benches that are solely made from aluminium are not suited for large and heavy pots, manufacturers improved their design with galvanized steel. This type of material is resistant to rot and decay. Moreover, it is known for its durability. It is expensive to install but it’s a one-time cost only.
2. Netted Benches
These are benches that usually have a wire top. Aside from wire, they can be made from plastic materials. Among these two materials, netted benches with wire top are most preferred by gardeners since they are is easy to disinfect.
Like the slatted type, netted benches allow good air circulation to the plants. Even though air can circulate well on these benches, they still have some drawbacks. Both are not suited for automatic watering. Moreover, they are not ideal as a workstation for potting plants.
Another disadvantage of using this type of bench is that it sags because of its pot’s weight. They also tend to corrode over time. So it is suggested to paint a netted bench with rustproof paint to protect them from rust.
3. Solid Benches
This type of bench typically has a corrugated or flat sheet of metal on top. It can also be made of wood and plastic.
Solid benches that are made from plastic materials are lightweight, portable, durable and won’t rust. These benches are also easy to work with and require low maintenance.
Furthermore, solid benches have the ability to conserve heat during winter. Hence, they are ideal to hold compost for potting plants.
However, solid plastic benches are usually hard to disinfect. Another disadvantage is that they are not fireproof. It is also worth noting that potting plants can’t be kept on solid benches for a long time. This is because its metal top can’t allow air circulation.
4. Rolling benches
Rolling benches are moveable benches. It helps workers move plants to any sections in the greenhouse. Using rolling benches can reduce the risk of plant diseases since it allows good airflow.
The primary advantage of using rolling benches is that they eliminate walkways. This can help gain additional production space in greenhouses. In fact, they can give about 24%-33% more production space on a typical greenhouse layout. Additionally, rolling benches improve crop efficiency.
5. Flood benches
This type of bench can help control irrigation. Apart from that, diseases on plants can be minimised since it keeps the leaves dry.
Fertilizer consumption can also be lessened when using flood benches. This can be done by re-circulating the water in it.
To bring more comfort for workers, selecting the best size of greenhouse benches is necessary. Consider these two factors below when choosing.
Height of the person working
Commercial houses mostly require more people working with plants. Therefore, the height and width of benches should be on average size. This means that the bench size must be suited to all workers.
Generally, a convenient bench height for workers is about 32-36 inches tall. As for the width, it should be 42-48 inches wide if the gardener can work from both sides. But if they are only accessible from one side, about 30-36 inches wide is the ideal one.
Types of growing plants
Tall flowering plants must be grown on lower benches. This is to allow workers to reach their stems and flowers easily. Contrarily, small plants can be grown on higher benches. This is to reduce injuries to workers since they don’t need to stoop or bend while working.
In order to grow plants inside a greenhouse, gardeners must use benches to provide enough surface area for storing plants and seedlings. Aside from maximising space, using benches can provide plants with good aeration that is necessary for their growth. They can even help gardeners and workers to work comfortably in greenhouses.
For those who are looking for quality greenhouse benches, check out a leading and trusted nursery equipment manufacturer in your local area. They have been in the market for over 50 years.