Gardening with Children

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A guide to growing Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs in a Window Box

Date Posted: 01 June 2015

June is the month when hopefully we should have seen the last of the frosts and we can begin planting out vegetables and flowers, if space is limited or if you have not got a garden why not consider:

Gardening in a Window Box

Many flowers, herbs and vegetables will quite happily grow in containers, once planted up they make an attractive feature by your front or back door, along the top of a wall, either side of a path and of course on a windowsill.

Getting started

Window Boxes need watering regularly, so it is worth choosing your container carefully, terracotta or wooden ones tend to dry out quicker whilst a plastic one will retain moisture, a Balconniere Self Watering Trough has a water reservoir at the bottom with a capillary mat that will draw up moisture to the compost and the roots, this will reduce the amount of watering needed.

 The Balconnire self watering system

Use good quality compost, if possible with a wetting agent that will make watering easier, mix into your compost Rain Gel water storage granules, they act like little sponges absorbing and retaining water and releasing it as your compost dries out.

Rain Gel Water Storage Granules

What plants can you grow?

There are many different ways to plant up your Window Box; the choice is endless, think about what you like to eat, or which are your favourite flowers.

Herbs

Herbs will thrive in a Window Box as they often prefer a dryer soil, if you cook regularly with fresh herbs consider growing the ones that you use the most or are hard to obtain or expensive to buy. Choose a mixture of annual herbs (Basil, Parsley, Coriander, Dill, Marjoram, Chives) with some perennial ones (Oregano, Thyme, Sage), one to avoid is Mint it can grow tall and will spread and take over your Window Box.

Basi

Fruit

A Window Box of Strawberries looks stunning and delicious, as the fruits are off the ground they keep clean, ripen faster and are out of the way of birds, slugs and dogs.

Tomatoes can be grown in a Window Box, choose the trailing, bush varieties that will cascade over the sides, why not include some Basil their perfect partner.

Strawberry Plant

Vegetables

Salad crops are often planted in containers; salad leaves, lettuce, spring onions, radish but you can also grow carrots (short or round varieties), Beetroot and Turnip (pick when small and tender), shallots and even dwarf peas either provide support or allow them to trail over the sides.

Frilly Lettuce

Flowers

As your Window Box may be placed higher up, near an open window or door I would include some scented flowers which will deliver a delicious waft of fragrance as you pass by, you could choose Sweet Alyssum,Nicotiana, Dianthus, Lavender, Stock, Night Scented Stock, Petunias (white and purple flowered), trailing Sweet Peas and even miniature Roses.

You can of course plant your Window Box with a mixture of flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruits, a mixture not only looks pretty but some plants actually benefit from being planted together this is called ‘companion planting’ for example French Marigolds and Onions (including Garlic and Chives) will ward off aphids, Carrots and Leeks, Leeks repel Carrot Fly and Carrots repel Onion Fly and Leek Moth.

Why not have a go at gardening in a Window Box

- what will you choose to grow?

 

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