Guide to Growing Herbs on Your Windowsill
Hands up the number of times have you bought fresh herbs for cooking or cocktail-making only to find them wilted and mouldy at the back of the fridge a few weeks later? Growing herbs on your windowsill is a lovely way to bring a taste of sunshine to your table all year round. Here’s a guide to creating and caring for your indoor herb garden.
Bring the outdoors to your windowsill and grow your own herbs
A great way to enjoy a bit of greenery in your life and have fresh green taste in our food, without taking up too much precious house space, is to grow herbs on your windowsill.
The kitchen windowsill is the perfect place to do this. As you’re cooking, you can simply snip off the fresh flavours you need to perfect your dish, without trekking outside.
Herbs will thrive growing on a windowsill that gets sunlight. To find the right location, ideally, herbs need upwards of six hours of sunlight a day. If they don’t have enough sun, they can grow spindly and start to pack less of a flavour punch.
Growing herbs from seed is a low-cost option, but they do need some TLC and a little time to get to the stage of culinary usefulness.
Choosing your herbs
To get started, choose the herbs that you love to eat! As a guideline, though, select herbs that stay fairly compact in shape. Some good choices are:
Mint can also be grown on a windowsill, and is available with interesting shades of flavour such as pineapple, apple, and even chocolate! However, mint does like to grow and spread its wings, so keeping it in a pot might become a bit of a challenge between you and the mint.
Create your herb garden
When you have your young herb plants, pot them on into larger pots. Remember that herbs generally don’t like to sit in wet soil. Think of Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, basil, oregano, and you can almost feel the heat and dryness of the regions where they grow best.
Adding perlite to the potting mix will help the compost retain moisture and keep it light and free-draining without becoming saturated, which is what you want to keep your herbs alive and well. To re-pot your herbs, add a little compost mix at the bottom of the new pot, gently tease out the roots as you put the plants into the pots, and then add further compost mix and firm them down into their new home.
Avoid using soil from the garden, as it may harbour organisms that could be harmful to your plants. Place your newly-potted-up herbs into their container, give them a good drink of water, and add to your new window sill herb garden.
Once planted, your new herb garden should keep you in fresh flavours for months – depending, of course, on how much and how frequently you harvest. Once your herbs are around six inches tall, don’t be wary of using them. Snipping and using your herbs often will only encourage them to grow more and to become bushier.
Feeding and watering your herbs
Your herbs shouldn’t need too much in the way of plant food. You only need to feed them every other month with a fertiliser suitable for edibles, at half the recommended strength. Giving them too much fertiliser may cause them to produce a lot of wispy, fine growth. If you see that happening, cut back on the plant food and give them a rest.
When watering, giving the herbs an occasional soaking is better than frequent, moderate watering. Check how wet the compost is by pushing in a finger into the pot an inch or two – if it still feels damp at that level, leave it be. Then give the herbs a really good soak when it does start to feel dry below the surface. Keeping herbs in pots inside a container (rather than planting directly into a non-draining container) will allow you to drain excess water if the plants do become waterlogged.
Other options to grow
Of course, your windowsill food production doesn’t need to be limited to herbs. There are lots of other options to explore, here are some other ideas to think about:
- Bean sprouts (mung beans)
- Kale sprouts
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Pea shoots
Growing herbs indoors is a great way to keep green fingers busy when gardening outside is off the agenda. Fresh home-grown herbs are a wonderful addition to any meal. Why not give it a go? You can find a full range of pots, seeds and accessories on our website.
Additionally, learn more about growing herbs on your windowsill here.