Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast
HomeLifestyleHome & Garden

How to grow herbs on your windowsill

How to grow herbs on your windowsill

You don’t need an enormous garden to grow herbs, they thrive in pots and love sitting on sunny windowsills

Grow them in your kitchen for easy access during culinary creations—the plastic-wrapped supermarket offerings will taste bland in comparison to your homegrown efforts, and growing your own is easy.

 

1. First off, grab yourself a container  

A plant pot around six inches diameter is the ideal size for herb growing.  

If you have nothing ready-made to hand, try raiding the recycling box: large yoghurt pots make ideal planters, and you can also fashion one from an empty two-litre milk container if you are deft with a pair of scissors.  

Just remember to poke drainage holes in the base of your container before filling with compost. 

 

2. Add compost 

compost herb.jpg

Add compost to a level a couple of centimetres below the rim of your pot, firming it down gently with your fingers. Sprinkle your chosen seeds onto the surface, then cover with another fine layer of compost.  

Give the pot a light watering, taking care not to over-soak as this can cause your seeds to rot. 

 

3. Choose your light 

Herbs grow best in strong bright light, so choose a south-facing, draught-free windowsill if you can.  

A sunny porch shelf is also a good option but remember to close any outer doors in the evening in case the temperature outside decides to plummet.  

 

4. Enjoy your results 

herb making.jpg

All being well, you should start to see signs of life after one or two weeks.  

Established herb plants may need watering once a day during hot spells but go easy and don’t over-do it. Only water when the surface soil feels dry to touch. 

 

5. Make sure your plants observe social distancing 

herbs in a row.jpg

Pots of herbs squished together like commuters on the tube can potentially spread diseases between each other, so allow them enough shelf-space to spread. 

 

6. Harvest your herbs regularly  

For peak flavour, pick in the morning. Herbs are best used fresh but can be stored in a fridge for a few days. To prolong their freshness, wrap first in a damp piece of kitchen roll and pop them in a resealable bag. 

 

Three great herbs to try:

Garlic chives Allium tuberosum 

Chives are a “cut and come again” plant, meaning they respond really well to regular harvesting. Snip the leaves at the base to keep the plant productive. Chive flower—although milder in taste than the leaves—can also be tossed in salads for flavour and floral interest. Chives are thirsty plants, so keep them well-watered during hot spells. 

 

Lemon Thyme Thymus citriodorus 

True to its word, the leaves of this herb release an intense citrus scent when rubbed. As well as lending its flavour to soups and stews, Lemon Thyme will brighten up your kitchen sill with a delicate display of small lilac flowers. Once established, it tends to grow like the clappers (thyme waits for no man after all) so re-pot and divide in early spring. 

 

Basil Genovese Ocimum basilicum 

basil grow.jpg

Basil genovese is the one that tends to be used in pesto, but also works a treat when flung over pizzas and paired with its plump ruddy pal, the tomato. Basil doesn’t like super sunny windowsill sites, so if your plant starts to wilt, try moving it somewhere with a bit more shade. Basil grows quickly, so keep picking the newly emerging leaves throughout the season to keep it in check. 


Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter

 

This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit ipso.co.uk