Balcony and windowsill gardening

Of course not everyone has their own garden space, or time to take on an allotment so this section will cover what you can grow on a windowsill or a small balcony.

We’ll cover some real basics like how to keep herbs from the supermarket alive, growing herbs and salads in a small space and look at some edibles that can be used as beautiful houseplants.

The first thing to consider when rowing in a small space is what the space actually is and how you can utilise it to grow crops the whole family will enjoy, and that are not just a basic staple that’s cheap in the supermarket. Whether that’s salad crops or microgreens, herbs or chilli peppers and tomatoes, making these decisions before you start will mean you have a plan that can be concentrated on, and the temptation to try everything will be curtailed. Crops we would suggest for growing in small spaces are……

  • Microgreens
  • Cut and come again salads
  • Aubergines
  • Tomato
  • Culinary herbs

If you have a small balcony you may have room for some containers or a raised bed. If you are going to purchase these things then make sure you have measured out the room you have available and take those measurements along when you go to buy the containers. The middle aisle of certain supermarkets often are a good place to look for these, or you’ll find a whole lot of containers and small plastic type raised beds for salads etc online. Again choose crops that are things you especially like to eat, but that you might not find so easily in a supermarket.

Windowsill herbs!

Herbs mainly love a sunny position and so will, without too many exceptions, thrive on a sunny sill. They’re also beautiful and often scented too, so there’s very little not to love about the idea of growing herbs on a windowsill.

Basils, parsley, coriander, thymes, marjoram, French tarragon, sage, mints, and many, many others will do really well, and many can be grown easily from seed, or from plants bought in a supermarket or from a garden centre.

Supermarket herbs are notoriously difficult to keep growing but there are a few tricks that will help you to do that and you’ll find them on our video here:

All you need to remember is to keep them watered and to use them regularly!

Growing microgreens on your windowsill…..

Microgreens are simple to grow and are ideal for a sunny windowsill. They are really seedlings of a salad crop, which rather than growing in soil, are grown much closer together in trays and harvested when they are an inch or two tall. Whilst for sure microgreens aren’t ever going to make up a huge salad, they are a great addition, and introduce interesting tastes to salads. They are rich in nutrients as they are harvested at such a young stage so that whilst they are only small, they pack a punch, and are delicious.

To grow microgreens a small tray (a supermarket tray from mushrooms or similar with drainage holes is fine), with a small amount of compost in the bottom, , seeds sprinkled on top and a few millimetres of compost on top is all you  need and they will germinate in a few days and within 3-4 weeks you will be able to start to harvest.

Ideal crops to grow as microgreens are peas for peashoots, sunflowers, kales, cabbages, leeks, basil, parsley, coriander, nasturtiums, mustards…….

But you can also experiment with other types depending on what you like! The microgreens, whilst small, will be a powerful hit of whatever it is you choose to grow!

Here’s a little video we made about growing microgreens and salads on windowsills: