Martha Stewart's Guide To Growing Herbs In A Windowsill

Many of us are interested in growing our own windowsill herb garden, and who else but Martha Stewart has the best advice on all things home and garden? We decided to go straight to the source for these tips on growing herbs on a windowsill. For an herb garden you can even grow in a small kitchen, be sure you give each plant enough root space to thrive. Use planters at least six inches in diameter with drainage holes and a saucer to drain into.

Another tip from Stewart is to be sure you research the herbs you plant to ensure none of them require solitary planting. Many people like to grow several herbs together in a long, rectangular-shaped windowsill box container. While this is fine for many herbs, some need their own container. For example, if not planted separately, mint will grow fast and take over the entire garden, inhibiting the growth of the other herbs. Let's dive into how to start your herb garden and everything it will need to thrive.

How to begin your herb garden

According to Martha Stewart, the first thing you need to decide is whether or not you want to use seeds or seedlings to start your herb garden. If starting from seeds, you'll have instructions on the package to guide you. Typically, you'll start seeds indoors approximately six to eight weeks before the final frost in early spring. Put enough potting soil to fill your containers, leaving just about an inch of space below the top. Sprinkle the seeds on the top of the soil, and cover the top with plastic wrap. When the herbs begin to sprout up, you can remove the plastic.

If you're starting from plants, choose seedlings over cuttings. When you get home, take the plants and prepare to transplant them into your own containers — which should be bigger than the ones they came in. Put two to three inches of fresh potting soil into your container first. As you remove the soil and root ball from the old container, gently fluff the roots apart. Once they're loosened, continue transplanting and fill up with enough potting soil to fill the new container. Leave an inch or so of space from the top, and water thoroughly.

What to grow, which window, and final tips

When deciding what herbs to grow, Martha Stewart suggests sticking with the ones you often use in the kitchen. Some common herbs that do well on a windowsill are rosemary, thyme, oregano, chives, basil, and parsley. If you love Italian food, once you try cooking with herbs fresh from your own little windowsill garden, you'll never buy them in the store again. There's something ultimately satisfying and extremely pleasurable about doing this. Plus, you've never tasted such full flavors before!

As for where to put the herbs, Stewart says a window that faces south and gets six to eight hours of full sun is ideal. Herbs grown for the purpose of cooking with them generally prefer full sun, but be sure you follow the directions on the packet of seeds or the tag on the plant. Take care not to over-water them; allow the soil to dry at least an inch or two down before watering. Once a month, add some organic fertilizer to your garden, and you will have scrumptious herbs to cook with in no time!