Gardening has always been really big with my mother and I, but I’ve never really been able to grow things myself outside the vicinity of the local public park. Being in a city, it’s really hard to find outdoor space; so I took it upon myself to start growing some herbs and veggies on my windowsill. Luckily, I get lots and lots of sun from my window. Right now, I have Sweet Basil, Italian Basil, Lemon Mint, Cherry Tomatoes (yet to bloom), and a Burmese Hot Pepper (yet to bloom). *The plant in the photo is the Lemon Mint.
So I wanted to share some windowsill gardening tips for anyone living with limited to no outdoor space.
First! Most important thing! See if any window in your house gets 6 or more hours of sunlight a day; and what you really need to have is a window that faces east! Eastern sunlight is sunrise to early afternoon, which boasts some of the more powerful light to give your plants lots of food.
If you don’t have adequate sunlight, invest in a Metal Halide lamp. It’s the most efficient bulb set up for indoor planting, and is recommended for smaller plants and compact spaces. Little Greenhouse provides a lot of options and a lot of information about indoor planting - http://www.littlegreenhouse.com/accessory/lights3.shtml
I always get tons of questions about the potting soil I use. Luckily, the LES Ecology center here in ny has a mulching center, and makes their own potting soil and mulch from recycled waste around the city. If you’re able to get to the Union Sq green market on your day off, I really recommend picking up their products. I use their soil for every plant, and it’s very inexpensive -http://www.lesecologycenter.org/
If you don’t have access to Union Sq, I know miracle grow makes a really nice organic potting soil - http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Gro-0045958-556-Organic-Choice-Potting/dp/B000BQLVNI
For watering, you want to keep an eye on every different plant. Mint plants will eat up water very quickly, while the tomato only needs to be planted a couple times a week. When you go to your farmer’s market, or to your local green store, ask anyone working how often you should be watering your plant for. The usual rule of thumb is to water the plant any time you touch the soil and it’s very dry. Also! Make sure your pot has a watering hole in the bottom, this is very important for the health of your plant’s roots. When watering, you want to keep watering until water will drain from the hole in the bottom.
Lastly (for real), many herbs will bloom flowers. As pretty as they are, you need to pick them. When flowers come into play, it usually means your plant will be pollenating soon. Unless you have a huge outdoor space and lots of room for the plant to spread, I really recommend picking the flower to stop the plant from spreading. It also disrupts the production of the actual herb, because it’s putting its energy into pollination, which you really don’t want on such a small scale.
If you have any gardening questions, let me know!