You can’t beat the delicious scent and taste of herbs. They’re an essential ingredient in any keen cook’s kitchen.
But we can end up spending a lot of cash on dried herbs to flavour our food. Whilst they’re a healthy way of cutting back on salt while injecting flavour, we don’t have to rely on the dried versions that turn to dust in our kitchen cupboards.
If you don’t fancy growing from seed, you can of course buy living herbs from the supermarket. They’re often dried out and in desperate need of water but with a little bit of care you can prolong their life.
Placing them on a sunny windowsill, watering the soil when it’s dry, and adding a few drops of fertiliser will help. If you don’t cut off all the greenery in one go you can get a good three weeks out of shop bought herbs.
But herbs grown from seeds grow quickly in a sunny windowsill herb garden all year round. And growing your own is so simple, and very satisfying!
6 Simple Steps to a Thriving Windowsill Herb Garden
To follow along you’ll need a couple of bits and pieces which can easily be picked up from your local garden centre or ordered online.
You’ll need flower pots no smaller than 13cm across, compost, and some saucers. If you want lots of a particular herb, use a 28cm pot. Choose the seeds of your favourite herbs, or get experimental with ones you’ve never used before.
After gathering supplies, just follow these steps and you’ll have a flourishing windowsill herb garden in no time.
- Place compost in each flower pot, aiming for around ¾ full.
- Press a few seeds in, not too many as each seed will grow into a separate plant.
- Sprinkle a little soil on top of the seeds. If you’re feeling professional use vermiculite. This is a substance which helps to aerate the soil.
- Place each flower pot on a saucer of water and wait until the top of the soil feels damp. Then tip the excess saucer water away.
- Leave them on a sunny windowsill that’s free from draughts.
- Add water to the saucer whenever the soil feels dry.
If you keep the compost damp you’ll see growth within a week. Wait until your herbs are a decent size and then start taking some of the larger leaves.
Propagating Herb Cuttings Like a Professional
Another way to grow herbs is to propagate them.
Take a herb stem, say coriander, and place it in a glass of water on a windowsill. Change the water every two days and keep an eye out for growth. When you see white skinny roots reaching down from the bottom, gently pot it up into compost.
Good choices for the kitchen windowsill are coriander (great in a chicken sandwich or on top of your curry), basil (perfect for all pasta and pizza dishes), chives, mint, sage and thyme. Your choices are endless!
Once you’ve got herbs under your belt you can grow pretty much anything on your windowsill. Don’t throw those veggie scraps away because they can regenerate into new ones.
Growing Vegetables from Scraps in Your Window Garden
Plants are truly amazing creations. Here’s a few examples of vegetables that can be re-grown from seemingly useless scraps.
A leftover slice of tomato with a few seeds in it will grow if you place it under a shallow covering of soil in a flower pot. Transfer it outside once it’s grown into a fairly large shoot. But until then, enjoy the amazing scent that will fill your kitchen.
Got a spare clove that’s starting to shoot? Pop it into a flower pot with the long piece upward and the tiny roots downwards. Garlic is a slow grower, but the taste will be even more worthwhile.
Sprouting Beans and Chickpeas
Bean sprouts are a common source of food poisoning due to soil contamination. So growing your own sprouting beans is a good idea! Soak your choice of beans or chickpeas overnight, then pop them onto paper towels to dry. Do this every few days and sprouts will start to appear which you can then use in a stir fry or in your sandwiches.
Lemons, Limes and Oranges
Citrus fruits take more time and need quite bit of warmth. But putting their seeds into a pot of moist, warm compost will shoot up a tiny speck of green after a few weeks. Just remember to keep them warm, so summertime is probably best. And if you only end up with a few shoots, at least it’ll look good on your windowsill!
Shop-bought peppers are crammed with seeds. Put some of these under a shallow covering of soil on your windowsill and water when dry. You should have new plants springing up within two weeks. Peppers love growing indoors. They ripen quickly on a warm windowsill and need little care.
Carrot tops will regenerate if you bury the orange part under some warm, moist compost. Make it a deep pot because carrots can get rather large, or use the new greens in salad or homemade pesto instead.
Growing your own herbs and recycling your scraps is not only satisfying and tasty. It’s also a great way to save money and save the planet too. You’ve nothing to lose by creating a kitchen windowsill garden so get creative and see what works best for you. Green fingers or no green fingers!