Rolling Benches for Greenhouse

I’m looking at getting the rolling benches made by Conley’s for my greenhouse, but I’m wondering how hard they are to roll back and forth. Does anyone have experience with these benches, or has anyone seen them in action? Are they difficult to roll back and forth?

Conley’s Standard Rolling Bench - Conley’s Manufacturing and Sales (

I was considering getting a 30’ length, but I’m concerned they might be hard to move, so maybe I should get two shorter benches.

The benches have 6 inches of pipe that sticks out over the ends to ensure the tops don’t walk off the rollers. Do the tops tend to walk over time, or do they tend to stay in place? I think it would be hard to reposition the larger size benches if they have walked off their original positioning.

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I’ve seen them here in San Diego and Riverside county greenhouses, primarily for ornamental tropical plants. At one of the sites they are in translucent 100’ x 200’ buildings with wall fans, etc. They have all the options: ebb & flow, bottom heat, etc. The other sites have them in 20’ x 80’+ high tunnels with few if any options. Most of them use overhead spray irrigation. The hand cranks are important for solo operation.

Thanks Richard!

Hi Pete:

I had 10 stationary benches, all 4x8ft, in my greenhouse. So I really can’t help you with your question.

What kind of floor are you going to have? That would affect how much they move around.

I looked at your link above. But I’m having a hard time visualizing how these work. I don’t see rollers on the legs. Do the legs remain stationary and the top moves?

Yeah the Conley’s site doesn’t have a great visual. Greenhouse Megastore has a pretty good schematic (its the same bench): Steel Rolling Benches – Greenhouse Megastore

I’ll probably use pea gravel or something similar for the floor. For the benches, I believe one side of the bench legs would be set in concrete footings and the other would just sit on the gravel. That anchors the lower structure, and then there are roll bars that allow the horizontal surface to move back and forth on one axis to cantilever over the frame of the lower structure. Conley’s has different width options in 6" increments from 4 ft to 6 ft. I was thinking 4 or 5 feet would be good. 6 feet (3 feet from either side) seems like a long distance to be able to reach from the aisleways. Length can be ordered in 2 ft increments, and I was considering one of the longer lengths, such as 30 feet.

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Consider using anchor bolts into the footing instead of encasing the bench feet in concrete. This will give you flexibility as your world changes.

I’d also drill the bolt holes after the footing has set for a week. This much easier than trying to place bolts before/during pouring. I use a hammer drill.

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I found 4ft width to be plenty wide. I’m 6-3 with long arms. Six ft wide would be hard on the back for me. Mine were spaced about 2ft between benches. And having access from all sides is a plus. Especially so when sorting out plants by variety. At times I had two butted up end to end giving a surface 4x16ft. More than that will be inefficient for some activates.

I could get about 150 plants per bench when using 4x4x9 inch pots. Not solid plants rather skipping every other row was better so each plant had a surface area of 4x8 inches. So ten benches was 1500 fig plants.

I’m still not seeing how this is better than stationary benches.

That’s a good point. Thanks for the tip!

That’s great input, thank you! I’m not as tall as you so I think I would have trouble with a really wide bench.

I think the advantage is that is provides more grow space by allowing you to effectively create a single mobile aisle instead of having fixed aisles between every bench. From a financial perspective, that lowers the cost per square foot of grow space if you consider that the aisles are generally not usable grow space. I ran some numbers to compare fixed vs rolling and I although the rolling cost about 33% more, the overall greenhouse cost per square foot of grow space was reduced by about 20% due to the increased amount of grow area. Of course, it the space is not maxed out for growing that’s not really true so it just depends on how the space is used.


Exactly. Getting to “that plant in the middle” is never a problem at these sites.

OK, I’m catching on now. The aisle position is flexible at your choice. That’s a plus in some situations but a negative the way I used mine. I was growing out fig cuttings, sorting them when big enough to sell, and then picking out which plants to sell any given week. For that type of application having easy access to each bench is a big advantage. If growing flats and then selling them without sorting, the rolling benches would be good. So it’s what you want to do and how much access you need.

Maybe :slight_smile: . It takes a few seconds to move a single top, creating a new opening in the array. You can then keep working in that direction or not, pulling a cart along with you for your selections. Working your way through all the plants from beginning to end is also an easy task.

But if space is not a concern for you, then of course it is not worth it.

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We have discussed your plans at least to some degree. I think you are going to be doing about what I was doing. If so, I’d be hesitant to recommend the rolling benches. You are going to have a big greenhouse. Do you really need to squeeze out every bit of production possible?

The rolling benches sound like a good idea for growing out flats of bedding plants. Those are solid with pots and could be watered by overhead sprinkler. I’d be hesitant to think it would work well for growing out individual plants that might need individual attention like pruning.

Maybe you can automate irrigation. That’s a big factor. How will you water? How much water can you afford to waste? It’s not an easy decision.

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I appreciate all the feedback. I’m just trying to make design decisions that will provide me with flexibility and capability in the future while providing good value for the money. Since the layout of the property doesn’t allow a lot of opportunity for another structure, I think it makes sense to make the most efficient use of the space I have. I know I won’t need all that space right away, but someday I would like to have built a nursery business that would enable me to cut back on the hours I work for my normal day job. So, the rolling benches seem to provide a lot of value–as long as they function properly without a lot of problems. There is a higher initial cost, but it is small in comparison to the overall project cost.

As far as irrigation, I haven’t worked out all the details of that yet. I do want to automate as much as possible, and I think I will probably put overhead irrigation supply lines above the benches and then run drippers or sprinklers down to the plants with some sort of automated watering system on a timer. I’ll be digging a new well later this summer so I don’t know how much water I will have at this time, but I anticipate it will be enough for whatever I need in the greenhouse. The irrigation part of the design may require a little trial and error. I think I can do the irrigation installation myself, so I don’t think it’s critical to have that part completely figured out right now.

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I irrigate my nursery pot plants with microtubing. I standardized on 1/2" DIG manifolds. I’ve removed the flow regulator from inside the manifold heads. At the output ends I need more flow than the supplied drip buttons, so I use 3rd-party spot spitters or leave them open-ended with a supplied stake.

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Thanks for the ideas Richard!

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So it sounds like no one has experience using these?

Yes , years ago I worked in greenhouses with rolling benches .
I remember how amazed I was the first time I moved them,
Quick , easy to move

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Like this

The only hard part was when you had the whole house pushed to one side , and needed to get to the “other side, “, meaning you had to move them “all “ ! .,in a large green house.
Not too hard really .
Notice he is only using one hand !
Bench is maybe 50 -60ft.+?, . Video length 15 seconds , 7 seconds to move bench’s
That’s a lot of moving with one hand .
The miracle of pipe rollers . The 2 white things you can see under the bench are pipe that it rolls on.
Could be easy to make if you are handy.

Cool. Thanks for the insight!

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