|My mother added her un-finished painting to the window box.|
When I grow up and have a yard, it will be teeming with edibles. Heirloom tomatoes, peppers, fennel, leeks, asparagus – all the produce I crave at the farmer’s market. For now, while I’m in an apartment building with zero notion of green outdoor space, I’m working on my green thumb with potted herbs. My window herb garden makes my home feel fresher and super cute! It’s out of the reach of my cat; (Arya slowly finished off the leaves of my dead rosemary plant from last year’s failed crop). And it’s fully in the reach of sunlight which has made for a bountiful crop so far this spring.
|The mint is doing wonderfully. Check out the leaves on my Cherry-Lime Bourbonritas.|
Herbs are pretty cheap here in NYC. Instead of the tiny plastic jewel boxes hung in the suburban grocery stores, I usually find thick bands of herbs tossed in the cooler alongside the greens. Cilantro sells for $.79-$1.29, dill is usually $1.99, and basil varies from large summer bunches for $.99 to small, fragile winter bouquets for upwards of $2.99. After last year’s rather pitiful attempt with these herbs, I decided to focus instead on a few plants I wouldn’t need to use in large quantities. That way I won’t kill the entire plant for one dish. I’ve planted thyme, rosemary, chives, oregano, and mint. These herbs are perfect for adding the finishing touch to salad, tomatoes, pastas, and cocktails. And in the past month I haven’t managed to kill them!
|Rosemary. And I’m also attempting to re-grow lettuce; that’s not going so well.|
The window shelf was pretty simple to install. I started with a cheap white Rubbermaid shelf from Home Depot, which I cut down to fit the 44″ x 8″ space. I used two simple white brackets on each side to distribute the weight evenly from the front and back. After measuring the height from the windowsill, I marked the bracket height on the wall and used a combination of measuring tape and level to find the right height on the opposing wall. Then I pre-drilled the bracket holes with my power drill and a friend helped me drive the screws into the wall with a screwdriver. (Apparently neither I nor my drill could produce enough torque.) The shelf went on top without being attached.
Now for the planting. They say you’re supposed to choose pots with a whole at the bottom to allow excess water to run off. I didn’t have any of those, so I smashed a broken terra cotta planter into large chunks and added them to the bottom of each pot as I’d seen done at a nursery. (My plants died last time that was done, but my neglect is probably more to blame than the pot.) The shards create empty space at the bottom where water can rest away from the roots. Finally, organic potting soil is a must before loosening the root ball, packing lightly with more soil, and giving it a first watering to awaken from those 4″ plastic shells.
|The full window.|
One last tool I picked up from Home Depot has been my savior in taking care of the plants. I use the pH, light, and moisture meter to see when to water each pot then I usually add about 3/4 cup to each. About two days later, or if I notice the herbs are drooping, I come back, check again, and add more. That’s really it. I’m still looking for an organic recommendation for fertilizer. have you ever tried hydrogen peroxide or making your own compost tea? How did that work out?
|Definitely go organic with potting soil and look for organic fertilizer options as well.|
|This thing is so helpful!|