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Your Own Windowsill Garden

Not everyone has a garden, not everyone wants a garden, and even those who do sometimes aren’t particularly keen to go out in all weathers to attend to it. And yet, there is something so utterly satisfying about growing something – whether it be flowers, vegetables, or herbs – from scratch that occasionally even those who are less than green thumbed get the urge to plant something and take care of it.

Some of the time that urge passes without incident. The rest of the time it can be easily soothed; the answer is a windowsill garden.

Windowsill gardens are perfect for homes with little or no outside space, or houses with gardens that are the domain of the kids or the pets, or even those that have a patio and not a lot else – certainly nowhere to grow anything. Windowsill gardens are ideal for people who want to produce something to be proud of, but who don’t want to go outside to do it. Basically, everyone and anyone can make a windowsill garden.

According to the National Trust, we in the UK have around 600 acres of space available on our windowsills that could be used to grow plants and veggies. Imagine that; imagine being able to simply reach up and pick your own beetroot or chard or lettuce or strawberries or rosemary. It doesn’t get fresher or more exciting than that when it comes to perfectly organic, totally homegrown.

The problem many of us face when gardening is the labour intensive nature of it. It’s not for everyone. It’s not a weekend job, or something that can be put off until we have enough time or feel more like doing it. Watering, weeding, caring for your precious plants has to be done on a daily basis, and when it’s drizzling and damp that isn’t going to inspire a Tom-and-Barbara-Good-Life feeling in anyone.

But having a windowsill garden dispenses with all of that; within easy reach, inside, it’s not such a chore to water them every day and pluck out the bits that don’t belong there. In fact, because it’s all being grown on the windowsill there are far fewer weeds than there would have been had it been out in the ground, which makes the job even easier.

Things To Grow

Tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, potatoes, beans, peas, peppers and aubergines are wonderful vegetables to grow inside. They are hardy and don’t need a lot of space but do give a lot of plants despite that. Value for money, these are some of the best.

Carrots also grow well, but because of the limitations when it comes to the size of box you can use, it’s worth checking out unconventional varieties such as the Parisian Market type, which is small and round (it looks like an orange radish) and tastes sweet.

Mushrooms are extremely prolific veg, but they have to be kept in the dark so will need to be covered on the windowsill.

And of course herbs are fantastic – pretty much any variety of herb will grow (and grow, and grow!) in a windowsill box.

What Next?

Next you need to find the right spot. It should – unless you’re growing mushrooms – be a place with plenty of sunlight (although do bear in mind that too much sun can also be a bad thing, and you may need to move the box if it starts to make the plants shrivel up). Five hours of sunlight a day is ideal. It should also be a place that is easy to get to for maintenance, but out of reach of children and pets who might decide that digging up your lovingly planted seeds is a fun game.

Pick the deepest pot that will fit on the windowsill. Too small and the plants won’t thrive. Too big and the whole thing will be unstable. You can buy ready-made pots or containers, or you can recycle and use large tins or wooden crates. Fill the pots with special compost that is meant for containers – this soil holds on to the moisture for longer, which means less watering. Before you put the compost into the pot place a layer of polystyrene at the bottom as this will help soak up excess water and stop your windowsills getting wet.

And now you’re ready to plant!

AeroGarden Sprout Plus

The Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Sprout Plus is the extraordinary soil-free indoor garden that grows plants five times faster than soil. This garden includes an AeroGarden Sprout Plus with a 3-Pod Gourmet Herbs Seed Pod Kit. Bring the magic of an indoor garden virtually anywhere – it sets up in minutes and the slim, elegant design fits beautifully in your kitchen, home, or office. Grow fresh herbs, vegetables, salad greens, flowers and more… let your imagination grow wild! Just insert the seed pods in your garden, add water and nutrients, and watch it grow!
£54.99, www.amazon.co.uk

AeroGarden (1)

Indoor Allotment

The Indoor Allotment looks fun – with a cute white picket fence, and a mini storage shed it really is lovely. It comes with a selection of herbs (basil, coriander, and oregano) as well as everything else you need to get started.
£24.99, www.firebox.com

My First Mini Greenhouse

This fantastic kit contains an easy build 21cm long plastic greenhouse which lifts up to access the planting area. Comes with quick and easy cress, sunflowers and unusual coleus seeds to grow, complete with plant tags, magic compost, a widger and a dibber. Also includes an activity sheet with lots of fun facts. Great starter set to encourage little green fingers!
£12.95, www.wickeduncle.co.uk


Grow Pod

The Seed Pantry Grow Pod is designed to produce ultra-fresh food indoors with no soil, no mess and is hassle free. The pod is a smart, automated system for growing plants quicker, ready to eat and organic. You don’t need to be a gardener or green fingered, the Seed Pantry Grow Pod does the work for you!
£35, www.seedpantry.co.uk

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