Indoor Gardening

I’ll be moving into a new apartment in May, and one of the best features about is the windows– tall ones, that run the length of our living room wall, with nice wide windowsills.  My roommates and I are excited to grow our own vegetables.  The only thing is, I’m not quite sure where to begin.

I’m not exactly a green thumb; I’ve managed to keep Ferdinand, my unknown palm-tree like plant, alive for about a year, but Betty the primrose died a slow death about a month after I got her, despite my best efforts to keep her alive.  (Yes, I name my plants.)  So I was hoping some of you lovely ladies would have some advice on how to grow a tasty, inexpensive, and thriving windowsill vegetable garden.  Any suggestions or tips?

–Jane AAR

4 thoughts on “Indoor Gardening

  1. Caryl

    Hi Jane,

    Herbs are classics for window growing: thyme, oregano, chives, parsley, rosemary if you keep it trimmed bonsai-like (basil too tall, unfortunately). All need lots of sun (6-8+ hours)

    Lettuces would work too, arugula and spinach. These will be okay with less sun (5-6 hours) and cooler temps to thrive. You might also try kale in larger 8-12 inch pots.

    If you’re very ambitious, you could try growing pole beans which come up on a vine you could train along strings. The base would need to be very stable (perhaps sit on the floor). Beans self-pollinate.

    Beware of sunburn if the windows face west and are not doubled paned.

  2. JulieR

    Hi Jane,

    When I remodeled the kitchen at my old house, I had a greenhouse window put in by the sink. I was quite excited about the thought of growing my own pristine vegetables that had never been exposed to the dirt and bugs that are prevalent outside.

    Unfortunately, I found that growing vegetables inside has one inherent difficulty: there are no bees or other insects to pollinate the plants, and therefore no vegetables. I attempted growing zucchini, and I had lovely zucchini flowers, tons of green leaves and vines, and absolutely no zucchini. Apparently you can pollinate the plants yourself, but my Q-tip method of pollination never produced any results.

    Maybe some of the more experienced gardeners here can give suggestions on how to deal with this difficulty. But meanwhile, you might consider herbs, where the stalks and/or leaves are what gets harvested.

  3. KarenS

    To protect your window sill I would place the tin cans in a plastic container/liner so rust stains won’t form. That was my first thought when I saw the picture. Good luck with growing indoor veggies!

  4. Callie

    JulieR: Apparently you can pollinate the plants yourself, but my Q-tip method of pollination never produced any results.Maybe some of the more experienced gardeners here can give suggestions on how to deal with this difficulty. But meanwhile, you might consider herbs, where the stalks and/or leaves are what gets harvested.

    Use a pair of forceps/tweezers to remove an anther (the thing that the pollen is on) when the pollen is beginning to go powdery. Rub the pollen from the anther onto the stigma.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mature_flower_diagram.svg

    Using a Q-tip might result in some of the pollen collecting on the tip rather than being transferred onto the stigma.

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