As we’ve written about elsewhere, our citrus obsession has caused us to grow lots of big plants in pots. We have nearly a dozen citrus varieties and since we live in a moderate climate zone where winter temps regularly dip into the teens and 20′s, that means we have to move our pots indoors or into our garage at various points throughout the fall and winter months.
These aren’t small pots, mind you. Each one likely weighs at least 100 lbs. Until recently, I (Aaron) was using a standard pot roller to move them around. I’d carefully tip the pot over to one side, pull it onto the roller, then push the pot into our garage. This took quite a bit of time and worn out roller wheels had to be replaced seasonally.
I’d tried other moving contraptions: wheelbarrows don’t work since I’d have to awkwardly hoist a huge plant a few feet off the ground each time I wanted to move it. Two different sizes of hand trucks didn’t work: one was too small and the other larger one didn’t have a foot plate long enough to support the pot nor was it able to secure a belt around the pots to prevent it from tumbling off while moving.
How To Easily Move Large Pots: First Get One Engineer…
Lucky for us, we’re friends with John and Kirsten Robertson of Pecan Dale Farmstead. They’re both engineers and John has a career of mechanical engineering under his belt. He also happens to have the ultimate machine shop/man cave on their farmstead.
I told John about our pot moving problem. He came over, did some brainstorming, ate some citrus, and went home with one of our large empty pots so he could create a prototype and test it on an actual pot.
A month later, just as our forecast showed temperatures dipping into the teens over an extended period of time, John sent me a text message saying, “It’s done save for a few small details and paint. I can bring it by tomorrow morning if you’d like.”
His text message plus accompanying picture set my heart aflutter.
The next day, John pulled up and unloaded the most glorious device I’d ever seen. It was a work of genius.
Does it work well? Better than I could have imagined possible.
The biggest challenges that had to be overcome were:
- Universality – How do you create a single device that can work on any large-sized pot regardless of its dimensions?
- Grip – a) How does the device grip the pots without crushing them or the branches of the trees, and b) how does the operator easily close, open, and release the grips?
- Snug Without Snapping – When the device hoists and moves the potted tree, it can’t damage extended branches in the process.
The new mover accomplished all three objectives.
What Should We Name This New Pot Moving Device?
John’s creation works so well, that it made us wonder how many plant nurseries, landscape architects, interior decorators, or other potted plant nuts like us, are currently having the same problem moving their plants and would benefit from owning this tool.
We don’t have any idea what kind of demand for such a device exists, but the next step is coming up with a funny or clever name for it. That’s why we need your help!
What would you name this pot moving device? A few ideas that were shared privately within our group: Porta-Potter, Container Maintainer, Pot Wheels, and Robertson PowerPot.
Please chime in with your ideas in the comments section below! Also, let us know if you’d be interested in buying one of these time- and back-saving devices for your personal or business use.
Now, we’re going to get some more citrus plants.