how to grow your spices on the fire escape
Window gardens for urban living.
Published Aug 31, 2015 5:00 AM
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Just because fall is around the corner, doesn’t mean you have to let your window plants shrivel up. It’s easy and affordable to plant seasonal herbs and keep them thriving on your window sill, throughout the year. Window gardens are the most resourceful decorations for urban living.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
– A ceramic pot with a drainage hole (when in doubt, go for the larger size, roots like room!)
– Potting soil
– Seeds or seedlings (local farmers market is the best place to go, though grocers, hardware stores and flower shops will surely have them as well.)
First, you’re going to want to pick a window that gets a lot of light. If you’re in a city, chances are your sunlight access will be limited so make sure to study your situation before moving your plant in. Once you find that spot, place your ceramic pot in it. Some windows have extended sills on the outside, if you chose to place your plant outside of your window, (remember, in New York City it’s technically against code to plant on your fire escape) you’ll need to weigh your pot down with some stones. Heavy winds, pigeons or squirrels could knock it over.
This next step is messy so you might want to take a few sheets of newspaper and lay them down under the pot. You’re going to take a big scoop of potting soil and press it down into the pot. Organic, well hydrated soil is best and it’s incredibly easy to find. Most grocers sell it for under $10. The next part depends on whether you’re going to plant seeds or seedlings. It’s recommended to use seedlings in the fall, it increases the chances of your plant surviving and flourishing. Though, there is something to be said about the magic of watching a seed grow.
If you choose seedlings, you’re going to remove the seedling of your choice, roots and attached soil and all and transfer it from it’s plastic box, to the ceramic pot.
Add more of your potting soil as needed, the seedlings should be fully surrounded by soil and standing as upright as possible. If you choose to plant seeds, make little punctures in the soil with your pinky and drop a seed into each. Then fill the rest of the pot with potting soil. Make sure you leave room between seeds, they’ll need it to grow.
Now your last step is to water your new baby. Make sure to water it at least once a day. You don’t want to flood the pot, but you do want the soil to remain moist and never crumbly. If you get a lot of sunlight you might need to water twice a day. You’ll be able to tell how dry the soil is by touching it with your fingers.
Remember to chose an herb you love to cook with or one you’ve been dying to try. There’s something so satisfying about eating what you sow and can give any urban apartment a homey feel. Rosemary, thyme, oregano and lavender are great early fall herbs. Mint is a great herb to have around, too. Keep in mind that it grows like crazy, so be sure to give it a big space of its own.
Within a few weeks, your window sill will be green and bountiful and beautiful.