If you don’t have enough space in your home for a fruit, herb or vegetable container garden, consider growing plants on your windowsill. It’s a great way to save space while bringing cheer to your home, and flavor to your table. However, to get the best results for your windowsill garden, it’s key to select the plant and vegetable varieties that will grow best in your space.
Add a dose of freshness to your meals with vegetables and leafy greens grown in your windowsill.
The fragrant shoots of green onions make for a flavorful addition to your favorite fare. One of the easiest vegetables to grow, green onions don’t require a ton of work. Fill small pots with damp potting soil, plant small bulbs root end down and place in a sunny area. Keep the bulbs covered and allow the green stems to grow. Water frequently enough to keep the soil moist. Pull the onions when they reach your desired height, then simply wash, chop and then eat!
Create your own fresh salad with greens you’ve grown yourself. Seeds, a planter with proper drainage, soil and a bright light source are all you need to get started. Be sure to select small greens like arugula, spinach or “Tom Thumb” varieties. Fill your planters with soil, and sprinkle seeds on the surface. Lightly cover with soil, and water carefully. Keep the soil evenly moisturized. Some leaves will be ready to harvest after four to six weeks. Use sharp scissors to cut the largest leaves to allow for re-growth and additional harvest.
For some extra spice, consider growing some chiles in your windowsill garden. Though their care is a bit more complex compared to other vegetables, it’s worth it for the heat they can bring to a dish. It’s easiest to plant chiles from seedlings, but you can also start them from seeds. Place planted chiles in a sunny area in a container at least 8-10 inches deep. Check the soil every morning to make sure the potting soil is moist, not wet, and fertilize once a week to maintain growth. Once the chile plant starts to flower, you’ll need to pollinate each flower with a soft paintbrush. As the chiles grow and change color, you can begin harvesting.
The key to growing this popular vegetable is having a deep enough planter to accommodate the longer roots of carrots. Use at least a 12-inch deep planter box and loose soil to make sure roots are able to properly form. Don’t let the soil dry out. Drying out and a sudden watering can cause the roots to split. When the carrot crowns start to show, continue to cover them to keep them from becoming bitter. Feel free to harvest as soon as they’re big enough to eat!
The fairly shallow roots on radishes make it very easy for them to be grown indoors. Use a planter with proper drainage filled with an indoor potting mix. Bury seeds approximately ½ under the soil, two inches apart. Lightly add potting soil to the top, and gently water. Place the planter in a sunny spot, and water regularly on a schedule. Extend the number of radishes harvested by planting more every few weeks.
Growing fruit indoors can be a challenge. Most fruit varieties typically grown indoors start as a small seedling or propagation, but will grow into larger trees that have to be planted in a much bigger container. For example, avocados, apricots and figs are all commonly cited fruits that can be grown indoors, but those varieties often grow too big and tall to fit comfortably on a windowsill. Below are two fruits that can easily be grown in windowsill containers.
Strawberries are a great snack, and a colorful addition to any windowsill container garden. These plants strongly dislike crowding, so be sure to minimize the number of seedlings planted to keep from overcrowding. Their temperature will dictate the amount of fruit they bear. Keep the soil moist and use a planter with adequate drainage to avoid overwatering.
Blueberries aren’t necessarily the easiest to grow indoors, but with the right conditions, they’re able to thrive. Typically, blueberries grow on fairly large bushes. However, there are select “dwarf” varieties that only grow to limited heights. For example, the “top hat” variety only grows to be about 20 inches in height, and approximately 24 inches in width. Access to lots of sunlight, acidic soil and plenty of water is key to getting blueberries to flourish.
Garnish your meals with fresh herbs to take meals to the next level.
Use basil fresh with salads, sandwiches and pasta for a flavorful punch. Sensitive to the cold, it’s key to keep this plant in warmer conditions. Use potting soil with a neutral pH, and water when the soil is dry to the touch. Frequently harvest to keep your basil plant producing longer. If the plant starts to flower, it won’t grow as flavorful leaves.
Full sun, light and well-draining soil are key to helping this herb thrive. Water regularly, but let the soil dry out in between. A few sprigs of rosemary are a great addition to all sorts of casseroles, salads, soups and bread.
Companion plant thyme and rosemary together, as they have similar care needs. One of the easiest herbs to grow, thyme doesn’t need constant watering or attention. Simply plant in well-draining soil, provide plenty of light, and water thoroughly when the soil is completely dry.
A flavorful addition, fresh oregano can take pizza night to new heights. A low-maintenance herb, it prefers full sun and doesn’t require constant watering. Plant in a light, airy soil and allow the dirt to dry between waterings.
Love it or hate it, cilantro is a fast-growing addition to your table. To grow, simply fill an 8-10 inch deep planter with moistened potting soil, and shallowly sow seeds. Keep the soil evenly watered as the plants grow. Harvest leaves as soon as the plants are a few inches tall to prevent them from flowering and losing flavor.
A versatile addition to nearly any cuisine, parsley adds bright flavor to whatever you’re cooking. Though it can be a bit slower to grow, its eventual yield makes up for the wait. Plant seeds into moist, well-drained soil. As it grows, water regularly. However, it’s fairly adaptable to drought, so if you skip a watering it’s not too big of a deal. Harvest the leaves when ready. You can even harvest the stems if you are so inclined.
Windowsill Garden Tip: Which direction does your window face?
One of the key items needed to grow any sort of plant is sunshine. Unfortunately, your windowsill garden may not thrive if your selected window doesn’t get enough light. Most plants need at least six hours of sunlight. Typically, a window that faces south will receive light all throughout the day. If you find your selected windowsill lacks necessary sunshine, consider investing in a few artificial lights to help your fruits, vegetables and herbs get the light they need.
With proper care and attention, your windowsill garden will flourish and you’ll literally be able to enjoy the fruits, herbs and vegetables of your labor.