Window Sill Gardening Ideas
Practical Uses For Sunny Window Sills
If you have a sunny spot on one of your window sills it may be the perfect place for a small garden. Almost any plant can be grown indoors with the right amount of sunshine, water and nutrients.
Starting a window sill garden
One of the easiest ways to start a window sill garden is to take winter cuttings of your favorite plants and put them into a pretty jar so they will root in water. Using sharp pruners, cut about a three inch stem and trim off any leaves. These cuttings should be placed in a small container of water and place them on your window sill. This will give a colorful effect over winter while allowing the cutting to get a root system growing. Change the water every week so that it doesn't become stagnant and cloudy and be sure to turn the jar a quarter turn every week to maximize sun exposure. Once winter is over your plants should have a healthy root system established and be ready to plant out into your regular garden or window sill garden box. You should note that not all plants are suitable to propagate this way, but it can be fun to experiment and see what will "take".
Once you are ready to transplant these water cuttings to soil remember that the roots developed in water are fragile, you should take special care when planting them out and keep the potting mix you have transplanted them into moist for about a week after planting, longer if your cutting begins to wilt a little.
What grows well on a garden sill?
Begonias, hoyas, ivy, wandering jew, purple passion plant, gardenias and air plants. Any sort of herbs will grow well on a window sill as will petunias and geraniums.
Herbs are one of the easiest plants to raise indoors, and what better place to grow them than the kitchen window sill? You can grow herbs from cuttings, seedlings or seeds and they will provide a tasty crop to flavour your soups, salads and daily cooking as well as adding fragrance to your kitchen. When growing herbs you should choose the sunniest window sill to get the best results.
Watering Indoor Herbs
Herbs tend to be quite hardy, so they grow well in pots and dont require lots of water, but remember that if you are combining a few herbs together in the same pot their watering requirements will also increase. Make sure you companion plant too – there is no point putting together two herbs with different water requirements.
When you're heating your home in winter try to mist water around your herbs regularly as they can easily dry out in the heated air. If you notice the tips of leaves turning brown it is likely your herbs need moisture.
Feeding Indoor Herbs
Don't overfertilize. Herbs which are overfed do not produce as much flavor and do not perform as well. Fertilizing herbs once a month or adding a slow release fertilizer when you prepare the soil for planting can be adequate fertilization for your herbs.
You'll need a fair bit of window sill space to grow vegetables, but it can definitely be done. Remember that vegetables require at least six hours of sunlight per day, and you will need to have them in containers you can turn to ensure all round sunlight exposure over the growing season.
What to plant indoors?
There are so many dwarf and patio varieties of vegetables now that you will be spoilt for choice. Hanging baskets are also an ideal place to plant varieties such as lettuce, tomatoes and anything which grows on a vine such as beans. Smaller vegetable such as radishes can also be perfect in a hanging basket. Plant beans in a container near a window and hang monofilament from the curtain rail – you will create a living curtain! Poles, teepees and bamboo – all readily available from your local nursery are great ways to grow any climbing vegetables indoors.
If you're after something a little more creative try paring gourmet lettuce varieties in one pot – their varied color can make a lovely display and you can also eat it. Another decorative approach is to grow a salad container … plant a tomato in the centre and edge the pot with radishes and lettuce – tasty and creative.
Caring for indoor vegetables
Vegetables are heave feeders and they also require substantial watering. Use a fertilizer on your plants every few weeks and be sure to keep the soil moist, especially when the plants begin to throw fruit. If you find that the flowers are emerging but there is little fruit or vegetables forming you may need to polinate your plants. Take a soft paintbrush and lightly brush the flowers to help pollinate them.
Drawbacks of indoor vegetables
Just like outside, they take room to grow and you may find that your good intentions are outgrown before the season is over. Tired of vacuuming around bean shoots and picking up fallen leaves? Indoor vegetables smell fantastic and are a good idea, but they aren't for everyone. My advice is start small – a container of lettuce grown in the kitchen is a good starter and you will get fast results in a relatively small space. You may also find that your indoor vegetables aren't as flavorful as your outdoor vegetables, but they are still tastier than store bought.
Which vegetables grow well indoors?
Bush beans, bush tomatoes, carrots, cherry tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, loose-leaf lettuce, patio tomatoes, peas, pole beans, radishes, scallions and spinach.
Window boxes are a marvellous way to decorate using living plants, and if you keep your plants in their pots you can change your look as the season changes! Window boxes (despite their name) don't have to be placed on a window. A beautifully decorated windowbox can match any seasonal theme and be placed in a central location such as a mantle or table for a day to enchant your guests. Keep your planter box in a sunny position while it is not being displayed and water as regularly as the plants inside require. If you do leave the pots inside your windowbox make sure that you hide the rims of the pots by spreading some moss or other decorative feature across the top as camouflage.
Have you had success with indoor gardening? What have you sucessfully grown when window sill gardening?