There are a variety of plants, and in particular herbs, that you can grow over winter in your windowsills.
First off, you obviously need to measure your windowsill. Usually, one of the long narrow planter boxes will fit in terms of depth. But the length of box obviously depends on the size of the window. Make sure you have a good drainage dish underneath – you don’t want to damage your windowsills with water.
In the garden box, spread a thin layer of gravel and then use a good potting mix soil.
You will need to determine if the window gets morning, afternoon, evening sun or no sunlight. In that case, you may need to invest in a grow light. You can go to your hardware store and buy a cheap grow light, or you can purchase broader range frequency lights. They come in all sizes, so there are options for everyone.
The following are vegetable options that may work for you:
- Carrot – obviously need a deep container for the length of the carrot root; drainage holes important; mulch in the container is good to retain moisture; temp between 55-75F or 13-24C
- Cherry tomato – again good drainage is important; pH between 6.2-6.5 and at least 4-6 hours of sunlight per day – so a southern exposure is good; take the suckers from your summer crop – place in jars of water in the sunlight and let them develop roots – then plant for your indoor winter crop; they will grow quite high so you want stakes to support them; do better with weekly heavy watering rather than light frequent watering; once they start producing, harvest every other day.
- Lettuce – you need a deeper box 6-12 inches for the roots; consistent watering; clay pots are good; add in perlite for water retention; always use the bottom leaves first
- Hot peppers
- Bell peppers
The key thing to remember is that hopefully you don’t have bees to pollinate – so you will have to do this by hand. Some plants are self-pollinating, in which case you just need to shake them – like tomatoes. With other plants you need to transfer the pollen. Simply use a small paintbrush to transfer the pollen from one plant to another.
And even easier are the herb options:
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Dr. Holly Fourchalk, Ph.D., DNM®, RHT, MH, AAP, HT