If you live in an area of our world where winterвЂ™s cold makes you weary, then chase your winter blahs away with a bit of windowsill gardening. Even if your world is warm in winter, you may not have outdoor growing space. So, if you have never grown herbs or other edibles indoors why not give it a try! There is nothing like having them fresh and at your disposal without having to visit a grocery store. It takes a sunny south-facing window and a little planning.
Many herbs can successfully be grown indoors. Some favorites you may want to try are curly parsley, Italian (or flat) parsley, onion chives, English mint, spicy globe basil, sage, Greek oregano and lemon thyme. Of course, there are plenty of other varieties but these seem to be well suited for indoor growing. If you choose to start them from seed, plan on 8-12 weeks (depending on the herb) before you start clipping the leaves for use. Use a 6вЂќ pot with drainage holes in the bottom and fill it 7/8 full with a lightweight commercial potting soil that you have pre-moistened. Sow seeds 1вЂќ apart over the entire surface. Cover lightly with the soil (no more than 3 times the seedвЂ™s greatest diameter to be exact) and water-in lightly so as not to float the seeds. Place your pot or pots on a saucer or tray filled with an inch or two of decorative pebbles. Doing this insures good drainage and also increases humidity, as it can be dry in homes during the winter months. Lay a piece of plastic wrap loosely over the pot rim until you see the seeds begin to sprout and then remove it. Keep the soil evenly moist but not wet until germination is complete and then allow the soil surface to become dry before you water the pot thoroughly. Fertilize weekly once the seeds have germinated. Your herbs will need at least 4-6 hours of bright sunlight each day to grow properly. If this is not possible you may want to purchase a plant вЂ?grow-lightвЂ™ to supplement the lighting. Turn your pots every few days as plants have a tendency to bend towards the light and this will keep them growing straight.
A quicker way to have that indoor garden is to purchase pots of herbs form a nursery. You can then transplant them into larger pots or group similar varieties for an attractive look. I find it is easier to purchase many plants such as rosemary, dwarf sage and lavender as all are not available in seeds and/or for the fact that I like instant gratification. Maintain the same growing conditions as the plants you are growing from seed but remember that, generally, larger plants require more water and may dry out faster.
If you are already an outdoor gardener you may simply choose to dig up and repot some of your outdoor herbs and bring in for the winter, especially the ones that are annuals such as basil, lemon verbena and summer savory. You may find that the old leaves fall off but soon new ones will be growing. Another idea is to take cuttings from your mint before it goes dormant in the fall as they root easily.
Herbs arenвЂ™t the only plants for a windowsill. Leaf lettuce, radishes and even small-rooted varieties of carrots can be grown in an 8вЂќ pot. Use the same sowing procedure and space the seeds about 1вЂќ apart. Make sure to keep the lettuce constantly moist and in at least 6 hours of sunlight for best production.
Whichever method you choose, you can have success with your winter windowsill garden. It will bring fragrance, color and enjoyment to you all winter long.