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Window sill gardening

Updated on January 27, 2014

How to start a window sill garden

So, you always wanted to grow your own food, but you think that to do that you need a house in the country with a big garden? Or at least a spare pile of money for pots, tools, covers etc.? Wrong. All you need is a bit of imagination. Let me tell you how I turned my window sill into a meadow with only the very basic (and mostly free!) equipment.

Photo source

Mission objective

As food in supermarkets get less and less tasty, one starts to miss fruit and veg that don't taste like minced cardboard. If you have a garden, or a field, you're lucky - get out there and start growing! If you're stuffed with cash, you're lucky too - there's bound to be a farmers' market around you, so you can simply eat tasty food grown by someone else. But what if you have neither? For a long time I thought that window-sill gardening is too costly and time consuming to consider but one day I changed my mind. It proves to be cheap, easy and so, so rewarding, not only because you get the veg, but also because of joy of actually getting something to grow, to thrive with your care. Each time something changes in my 'garden', I'm turning into a little child, dancing around the house and screaming: 'Look! It sprouted, sprouted, sprouted!!' or something like that...

seeds public domain
seeds public domain

So, what do you need?

As simple as it gets.

1. A bit of a window-sill or balcony space.

2. Some sort of a container. I turned into a pot-maniac for some time, constantly hunting for everyday objects that can be turned into pots. All sort of plastic containers work great. Bottles (cut in half), yoghurt pots, that's just a few ideas. I have strawberries growing in a former-cake-box (now a pot!!) and various lettuces sprouting in little plastic buckets that once held cream cheese. Way to go! All you need to do is to pierce the bottom with a heated knife (or anything metal, really) to allow water to drain and you're ready. Oh, and lids work great as trays for excess water.

3. Some sort of compost/topsoil. I bought mine in a cheap shop - cost me something like 3 euros for 40 litres - but why don't you dig out your own?

4. Some seeds. You can get those cheaply in shops, or try to hunt for a seed giveaway on some gardening blog. I took an opportunity of my birthday approaching and asked for some as a gift. And it still was a surprise packet, because you never know what they'll put there...

5. Water, light, patience and... you're done!

Photo source

chopped veg public domain
chopped veg public domain

What can you grow?

Anything that does not grow huge roots! All leafy greens and most herbs are perfect for a window sill garden. I go for variation, so I have little bits of this and that - rocket (impossible to kill!), leafy lettuce, parsley, dill, basil (and there are soooo many variations of it!), cress (grows within days, fantastic if you are impatient)... I'm also doing some experiments - trying a few radishes, peas, flat beans and courgettes. Not the most obvious choice when planting in pots but you never know. I'll update you in few months whether it works :).

Basically - sky is the limit. And your creativity, of course...

Photo source

Flower power

You don't really care for growing food but still want to play around in mud? Hey, why don't you grow some flowers? They will surely make your sill look pretty! There's so many variations out there it could make your head spin. Depending on where you live, you can simply go to a seed shop, read the packets and choose the easiest - to - grow variates. Alternatively, you can rummage around friend's garden after blooming season and collect your own seeds. I went for the easiest - calendulas are pretty, useful and almost impossible to kill. You go for your favourite!

Fruity stories

OK, I admit that fruit are a higher level of gardening. You surely won't grow an apple tree on your balcony. But why not give it a try? Strawberries are the champion, you can get some plants in a gardening shop, put them into a hanging basket and enjoy your own sweet treats. I got hold of some strawberry seeds and hope like hell it will work for me. You can be even more extreme if you dare. I got a raspberry bush recently... Still don't know if it's going to work, but I'm so getting a bucket and planting them! Just imagine, strawberry/raspberry dessert, all grown on your balcony! I imagine you could also try things like gooseberries or currants... Although that is definitely for more ambitious.

Whichever you choose, I wish you unforgettable experience and gardening success!

What would you grow on your window sill?

Just a quick poll to find out which are the most popular.

So, what would you grow?

See results

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What's on your window sill?

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Hi Ms. Lovejoy!Thanks so much for the information! I never did prune my lilac, but now I'm feelnig empowered to get going on this project. I'm spending time in my garden this afternoon, hoping to tuck everything in safely prior to tomorrow's major meteorological event (nor'easter/blizzard/hurricane). I think I'll tackle the larger trunks after we all make it through the storm.Regards!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      A great lens. I love to grow plants on window sills. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you love this lens. We have a herb garden in the kitchen but would like to grow more!

      We don't have a garden but would love one to grow things in however our authority council won't give us one so we in a 2 bed flat. I on a waiting list for an allotment and trying to get a house myself. We have this dream to get a back garden and have a huge veg and fruit garden... :-)

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      What a wonderful article. Perfectly done too :)

    • blujeanmomma profile image


      7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      We have a few window sill containers and I love to grow herbs in the winter and flowers in the summer.

      It's so convenient and they are so pretty to look at.

      (Found your lens at the new lens directory) & I'm glad that I did.

    • Tiggered profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @anonymous: You can, but it never beats natural light and it's bloody expensive. Incandescent lights are said not to work too well, so you would need fluorescent tubes. I've never tried it myself :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      @PromptWriter: Can you use artificial light, and if so, what kind do you need?

    • goode006 lm profile image

      goode006 lm 

      7 years ago

      I like this ,I also grow fruit trees in my yard.

    • Psycho-Gamer profile image


      7 years ago from Earth

      this is really interesting and creative ....this is good advice for a healthier life....i have noticed too that food in the supermarket is less and less tastier year after year and i am getting sick of this....

      my father used to grow veggies in a field next to our country house but he was overdoing it and we were flooded with so many veggies and basically there was no time to consume everything that sometimes we had to give away to relatives and friends or even throw some away (that was a terrible waste)

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 

      7 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      If I had a window sill it would be full of African violets. Instead I have a shelf above my sink with a light.


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