A fun and easy way to learn about growing vegetables and herbs, especially for total beginners or kids is to grow on a windowsill. It’s fun and not on a massive scale so if you do end up going wrong somehow there isn’t much wastage and you won’t feel too disheartened. Kids will love having a little space of their own to play with and look after and it encourages them to try new food, especially if that food is something they’ve nurtured themselves. Younger children will be in awe of the magic of putting seeds into soil and watching as a brightly coloured ‘something’ peeks through the dirt after a few weeks.
Choose a windowsill with lots of sun, preferably about five hours’ worth a day. The wider the windowsill the better too, because you will need a stable surface for your pots. Choose a windowsill that isn’t overshadowed by a roof or a part of a building as natural rainwater is brilliant for growing veg. Saves on your watering too! The pots need to be deep too, around 15cm if you’re growing herbs and about 25cm maybe 30cm for carrots and other types of veg. Aubergine and courgettes aren’t really suited to windowsill growing as their plants are too large. Make sure the pots are properly secured, as they will be very heavy once filled with soil, water and the growing vegetables and accompanying roots.
The wider the pots the better. Plants don’t like being crowded, and so when they’re forced to grow in cramped conditions they produce small and rather strangled looking leaves and flowers. Place a layer of stones or broken bits of pots, cups or plates just to help the water drainage and to not drown the roots. Lightly firm the soil down on top of this layer, not too compacted but not fluffy either. Plant your seeds, and give an initial water. Don’t pour loads of water on, just enough for the surface to be moist.
Once the sun has had chance to nourish the pots and you start to see sustained healthy growth, make sure you keep up the good work by regular watering. You should invest in a liquid feed too, one specially designed for compost with extra nutrients. You’ll soon see the difference.