Indoor gardening can be the perfect pick-me-up at any time of year but they are particularly comforting when it is cold outside and your backyard garden has gone dormant. Without much effort, windowsill plantings can provide bursts of freshness to your cooking, bright pops of color on cold days, and a cheerful reminder that you will be back out playing in the soil sooner than you think!
If you are like many Pinetree Garden Seed customers, bedding down your backyard garden brings a mix of emotions—gratitude for the bounty of the growing season behind you, a little bit of relief that the hard work of harvest is done, and a twinge of regret that the joys of gardening are going away for a time.
They don’t have to! Why stop growing? A windowsill garden is a great way to get your fix when conditions won’t allow for outdoor gardening. Often overlooked by more serious home gardeners, the humble windowsill garden can give you all kinds of benefits: fresh flavors and fragrances for your kitchen creations, pretty blooms when the world outside feels barren, and restorative moments of mindfulness as you water or prune your plantings during the colder, darker days.
Look around your house for a sunny window—preferably south-facing, to soak up the most available rays—and start thinking about filling it with greenery and growth. With a few tips below, your humble windowsill garden can yield a surprisingly satisfying harvest!
No matter where you live, your windowsill garden will most likely get less light than your backyard garden beds. Plants that must have full sun to thrive might not make it. For plantings that over-perform in window pots, choose seeds that can stand up to a little less sun.
Our gardening experts recommend microgreens, herbs, and edible flowers as fun indoor plantings that flourish with less light. Rotating pots in the windows now and then can also help straighten out seedlings and avoid that leggy look.
You can plant a windowsill garden in almost anything, from empty and washed plastic yogurt containers to handcrafted ceramic pots. The key is to make sure your planter has at least one hole for drainage, a saucer or plate to catch runoff and protect your windowsill from water damage, and rich and nourishing potting soil in which to grow.
How do you know when a windowsill planting is well watered? While different plantings will have different tolerances (and your home’s humidity levels will also play a part), there are some good rules of thumb.
Weekly watering should be adequate for most indoor plants. If your home is particularly warm or dry—for instance, if your planting is in close proximity to a hearth or woodstove—you may need to water more frequently. Not sure if your plants are getting enough? Press your finger a couple centimeters into the potting soil to see if it is damp. Overwatering can stress or blight your seedlings so don’t overdo it.
Indoor garden pests are quite a bit more furry and lovable than outdoor garden pests but they can be destructive just the same. Cats, in particular, can be tempted by both the potting soil and the greens growing within them, and can make quite a sport of knocking over pots or chewing on tender leaves. Our gardening experts recommend planting a little pot of catnip just for cats and spraying others with hot pepper for a natural deterrent.
Remember forcing avocado pits as a kid? It is just as fun to do today. Somehow, stripping back to a few seeds and plants can reawaken the natural wonder of how simple and spectacular it is to watch something grow. Involve children or grandchildren in planting or tending. Photograph your most successful pots or spend a quiet moment sketching them with colored pencils or watercolors. Share a few precious pots as gifts. Just like your backyard garden, one of the great harvests of a windowsill garden should be happiness.
Windowsill gardens are reminders to grow where you are planted and make the most of every sunny day, so start one today. Let us know your most successful windowsill garden plantings in the comments and keep us posted on your progress.
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