Who says that you need tons of space to grow your own food? With a little know-how, you can grow many things in a confined to small spaces — city apartments, college dorms, and suburban kitchens.
You can use an easily accessible windowsill as a starter garden. It’ll keep you aware of what’s going on and act as a constant reminder of when to water and prune and use, i.e. eat, your plants.
To get you started, you’ll need some starter supplies. Go in for some quality organic potting mix, which is airier than soil because it includes special components, such as coconut coir, to make it so. Find some containers, or even better, make them from upcycled materials, such as tin cans, plastic bottles or wine bottles. Then, choose a sunny windowsill, one that is passed often. The kitchen window tends to be best because it is near the water tap as well as is right where the cooking is done.
Then, it’s all about choosing the right plants.
1. Culinary Herbs
Lots of culinary herbs thrive indoors, and they often don’t need massive amounts of space to survive. Try chives, mints, thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, and parsley. When the plants are established, just trim leaves and stems off as needed, and they’ll regenerate. It will add a whole new realm of flavor to dishes, as well as deliver some great medicinal benefits, especially when used regularly.
2. Green Beans
Beans are amongst the easiest things to grow. Once they are planted, they just seem to do it themselves. Get some pole beans (the ones that are vines, not bushes) and plant them at the edges of the windowsill. As the plants get larger and longer, train them to grow up the sides of the window and it’ll make for a beautiful and edible addition to the kitchen.
3. Salad Greens
We all know that those dark, leafy salad greens do some serious nutritive work on our behalf, so all the better if we can get them fresh from the windowsill. Lettuces, kale, and the like are typically very easy to grow. They don’t need massive spaces, especially when eating the micro-variety, and don’t even require an abundance of sun. They like a lot of water and, when taking a couple of leaves at a time, can be harvested over and over again.
Sprouts, from lentil to alfalfa to chia, happen rather quickly, and can be done with little more than a wet paper towel and some seeds. They work well on salads and can be thrown into all sorts of amazing raw recipes. Check out this amazing article, providing the need-to-know info about sprouting.
Often an unsung hero of the garden, radishes grow very quickly, require little attention and funk the freak out of a dish. They have a nice spice, deep crunch and vibrant color. Plus, the greens are also edible. Radishes can be grown indoors, on a sunny windowsill, and with a clever sowing rotation, they could possibly always be in supply as weekly special.
Tomatoes are incredibly delicious and versatile. They are packed with vitamins. And, they are often temperamental plants, needing a lot of care; however, they can grow in a tiny pot (6 inches). Go for some small varieties, like cherry tomatoes, and put them on a windowsill, where they’ll get plenty of attention.
7. Garlic Greens
Garlic is very easy to grow and can be done from a fresh bulb bought at the supermarket (or farmer’s market). Simply plant a clove pointy end up and give it a little time. Eventually, that one clove will create an entirely new bulb of garlic, which is completely within the realm of patient possibility. But, garlic greens are absolutely delicious and can be harvested much, much sooner.
There it is, folks. Nothing too complicated. Nothing too expensive. And in no time at all, your kitchen will be teeming with live, fresh food for the picking. Doesn’t that sound amazing.
Lead image source: rudy.kleysteuber/Flickr