You can still garden if you live in an apartment with no balcony or yard or if you live in an area that gets cold in the winter and you want a winter garden. Modern technology is making it very easy to maintain a garden indoors or on a window sill.
You just need the right equipment and you must choose the right type of plants to grow.
A window sill garden will need to have about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine per day when it is sunny.
Choose a container that has drain holes in the bottom as herbs hate to have wet roots all the time. Choose from wood, ceramic terra cotta or plastic containers that are long and thin to fit on the window sill or opt for small individual pots that fit on the sill.
Make sure you can lift your container, with the herbs in it, and place it in the sink to water and make sure there is a tray under the container that will catch excess water leaking out of the drain holes when you do water the plants. The windowsill will not fare well if it gets soaked with water every time the container is watered.
Use a light weight, sterile potting medium in the container. Soil from the garden outside is often too heavy to use and it may contain weeds that you do not want in your windowsill garden. A bit of aquarium gravel can be placed in the bottom, but often times instead of encouraging drainage, the stones can get stuck in holes and actually impede drainage.
If you are worried about the soil falling out of the drain holes, just tear up a coffee filter and put it over the hole. Water will drain out but the soil will stay in.
What to Plant.
Any herb that grows tall and bulky is not suitable for a windowsill garden, but there are plenty of compact varieties that adapt well to small containers. Try sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, chervil, oregano and tarragon.
Parsley grows well if you plant seed as it does not transplant very well and basil will sometimes grow well in a windowsill, but it must be pinched back frequently or it gets leggy and long. It is best to plant chives in a pot of its own since it needs a cold period in the winter in order to return the next year. Just pop the pot outside during the winter and you will have chives the next year.
Most herbs are very resilient when it comes to watering. Soil should dry out about 1 inch down between waterings. Terra cotta dries out more rapidly than plastic containers too, so check every other day to see if your garden needs some water. It is also advisable to fertilize every other month or so with a water soluble fertilizer.
When plants are in the ground outside, they are able to pull nutrients from the earth, but when in a container inside, they need a little more care.
Once days start to shorten in the winter, wait to fertilize for about 3 months. Turn the container weekly so that plants don’t only get sun exposure on one side and try to keep the plants from touching the glass of the window or they can burn.
Try growing salad greens in a windowsill garden. Leaf lettuce, spinach, and Asian greens actually grow well on a sunny windowsill and can be harvested when they reach about 6 inches high. Once the plants are spent, plant more so that you have an endless supply.