Growing herbs is a wonderful, and practical, use of your gardening space. They lend themselves so well to almost any garden and emit gorgeous fragrances into the air as well as infuse into your morning cup of herbal tea or throughout your favourite culinary masterpiece.
Yet often the herb garden is kept outdoors and depending on your climate may only be harvestable during the warmer months. So it makes sense to bring them indoors and start your own windowsill herb garden.
Things to Consider When Setting Up a Windowsill Herb Garden
Finding an Appropriate Windowsill
The best place may seem like the kitchen but it all depends on which windowsill gets the most sun. For people living in the southern hemisphere, you will need a window with a north-facing aspect while northerners will need a southerly aspect.
A window facing in this direction will get the most sun throughout the day and produce the much needed light for your herb garden to grow. The windowsill garden will need at least 4-6 hours of sunlight per day so choose wisely the right windowsill.
If your pots still aren’t getting enough warmth from the limited sunlight you may want to consider covering your herbs with a garden cloche. This will create another level of humidity and warmth to keep your plants growing.
Choosing Windowsill Containers
Almost any container will suffice for the windowsill garden provided it won’t melt in the sunlight and offers ample drainage. If your winters are very cold I would suggest using terracotta pots instead of plastic as the clay will warm with the sun and insulate the potting medium overnight.
Drainage is an important factor for your windowsill plants so you might want to provide reservoir bowls or saucers under each pot or container. These will also give you some indication as to when your plants require more water.
If your containers don’t drain well then they will harm the growth pattern of your herbs and possibly stunt them or allow fungal diseases to be introduced.
Selecting the Right Windowsill Herbs
Just because you’ve created a windowsill herb garden doesn’t mean that any herbs are appropriate. Plants such as fennel, dill and comfrey should all be relegated to the outdoors garden due to their size.
However, this shouldn’t limit your options as there are many plants that will grow well indoors on your windowsill. Here are a few;
- Vietnamese Mint
- Lemon Thyme
- Coriander (Cilantro)
Caring for Your Windowsill Garden
Your windowsill garden should be nurtured just the same as your normal outdoor garden. Your herbs will require fertilising throughout their growing season – opt for foliar fertilisers over normal fertilisers although a once-per-year application of a slow-release fertiliser should give them a boost. They will require fertiliser applications every 4-6 weeks.
Watering a Windowsill Garden
As previously mentioned watering is an important component too and should be overseen with some vigour. Too much and you will cause problems and too little may damage these delicate plants beyond repair within a single day. The soil should be just moist to touch and the underlying saucer should have very little water in it after one day.
To encourage new growth you will also need to prune your windowsill herbs regularly, but that's the point of growing them isn't it?