Benching

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Benching or staging comes in many different types and the use to which it is to be put should determine the choice. It may be either permanent or temporary. Permanent benching will be required for pot plants, for plant-propagating units, and where you need to set aside an area as a potting bench. Semi-permanent or temporary benching will be needed where it is intended to bench tip only part ot the greenhouse for part of the year and to grow crops in the remaining borders, It you require benching in the spring and early summer, benching can be erected tn January and removed later.

The benching framework can be ot steel, aluminium alloy, or pressure-treated timber. Its strength will depend 011 whether the benching is to have a solid or open top surface and also on the weight it has to carry. Manufacturers of solid benching often use flat or corrugated asbestos sheeting on top of the framework, and this will allow a layer of sand or shingle to be added ifrequired, A permanent display of pot plants would normally be staged in this manner. Open benching, commonly of Welded mesh, slats ot treated wood, or alloy, is valuable because it allows air to circulate more easily around the plants.

When installing benching make sure that it is the best height for you to work at comfortably, if you find it to be ,1 bit on the low side, putting a brick beneath each leg will not only raise it but give it added stability. Do not rest the legs directly on border soil.

Bench depth is important. In the case of solid benches there should be a gap of 150 mm (6 in) between the back of the bench and the glass to enable air to flow freely around the greenhouse, and the front of the bench should be level with the edge of the centre path. Benches deeper than about 1.25 m (4 ft) will make tor difficulties in tend-

Left above Sub irrigation ol pot plants Is now widely ptactised, and there is a variety of automatic-watering systems to choose from Left below Temporary benching of this type is quickly erected and dismantled The legs need to stand firmly on bricks or concrete, not directly on the soil ing plants at the back of the bench. If the benching is to be temporary, the ease with which it can be assembled, dismantled, and stored should be taken into consideration.

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