Windowsill gardens add greenery to your home and it really is achievable, even for the most green thumb challenged. Here's a beginner guide on how to start your own windowsill garden the easy way. They are typically simple plants that are easy to care for with only very basic knowledge, and low time commitment.
I absolutely love windowsill gardening, and plants here are usually more successful than in the garden for us. You can choose many different types of plants and it's a fabulous place to start off any seedlings. Those pictured above are enjoying their monthly visit outdoors.
My kitchen windowsill is an ever changing mix of green, and mismatched pots, but for anyone wanting a little more style, this book has some great ideas on turning your windowsill and home and into a stylish little jungle.
Before you start........
If you're looking for the absolute simplest option, you can just get yourself a kit with everything you need to get started, like this windowsill herb garden , an urban greens kit or the simplest of all, the classic grass head.
But, I am going to take you through step by step and I promise it really is simple!
Choose a Window
Kitchen windows are ideal, but don't feel you are limited to this. Any window with a few hours of sunlight a day is a good choice. Avoid any locations where the sun is harsh, or too filtered. My kitchen window only has a short time of direct sun and is mostly filtered, but well lit through the day. Another location I use has full morning sun and no afternoon sun and both have been just as effective. An added bonus for the kitchen is that it is a frequently visited area of the house and difficult to forget about watering, plus you can repurpose that clean waste water on the spot.
Bathrooms can be tricky as the plants will be subjected to humidity and a variety of temperatures meaning you will need to do a little research on which plants would be suitable.
We have some decent sized windowsills, and some miniscule ones. This factor is really going to determine the size of pots and ultimately the type of plants. If you have a seriously tiny sill, consider using a stand, table or small bookshelf against the window to create an artificial ledge.
Afraid of Commitment?
Go for succulents and cacti, they are the most
independent of plants and have
gained popularity in recent years.
Decide the Purpose
Functional? decorative? or future plantables? Will you want to repot or maybe relocate to your outside garden once they begin to grow? Or prefer them to be permanent?
I tend to veer more towards herbs, or edibles enabling me to conveniently pick as needed, but really enjoy my non-functional plants too. Herbs will typically be happy in the same pot especially if you are regularly harvesting, whereas tomatoes are going to need more room to grow. Just start with a purpose in mind and read the labels of seeds or plants before you purchase so you know what you're getting yourself into.
Seeds, or Not?
Will you use seeds, or purchase plants or seedlings? (more experienced gardeners may also opt for cuttings). I highly recommend seeds, as they are the most rewarding to watch, and can grow fast in a well positioned window.
Whichever way you go, just start with one or two types and slowly build up to a collection you're comfortable with.
For a zero spend option, plant a carrot top
in a tin or container, this will grow green and
bushy and no one has to know what it really is!
Find your Vessels
Make use of any small pots and containers you already have like tins, yoghurt tubs, teacups or even jars. I like mismatched, reused items the most, but select according to your taste. Many of mine do not have drainage holes, this means I am just a little more careful to not over water. You can drill holes for drainage or even use smashed broken crockery at the bottom of the planter to provide false drainage.
Pictured below are the seedlings grown from planting an old squishy cherry tomato I found in the bottom of the fridge, I thought this tin was perfect and a bit of a labelling cheat.
I highly recommend using potting soil as this will get the best results (I always ask for mid-range quality as the really cheap stuff is not always fruitful and I don't feel I need the best quality available). If you have good quality soil in your garden, this would be perfect. We have sandy, water resistant dirt, which is obviously not the best to work with and hard to grow in.
How to do it......
Fill your 'pot' with soil, 3-5cm from the top for seeds. For partly grown seedlings, you will need to adjust to fit. If you are adding false drainage, remember to put that in first!
Add your plants/seeds
Put them on your windowsill
Water every few days
Tip for seeds: Place a clear plastic container
or glass on top of the pot to create a mini
hot house and speed up sprouting.
The biggest tip is to water around every 2 days and keep an eye on how they look. Wilting = water more
Yellow = water less
Brown or crunchy leaves = too much sun, dehydrated or possibly dead! Recommend watering and giving it some love.
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