The Urban Gardener - Perennial Herb Window Garden
By: Helen Clarke Berndt, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Harlem Office
Nothing enhances a view like the sight of lively green foliage and freshly budding flowers out of a window. The scent of herbs and flowers wafting through the window is one of summer’s great delights! Indeed, besides their positive value in adding fresh oxygen and making us feel happier, (it’s been scientifically proven!), it also increases the value of your property.
One easy way to add the joy of greenery to your home is installing window boxes. One very satisfying window box for an apartment dweller is the Carefree Herb Garden. A single small window box can hold 2 or three small herb plants which can be used for cooking and aromatherapy year round.
Following my expert instructions below demonstrates that planting a window box is fairly simple:
1. SAFETY FIRST: First, be sure your window box is properly secured in place. Determine which box and attachment hardware works best for your needs. Gardeners.com and Chelsea Garden Center are my top choices for where to find all the supplies and resources with the appropriate hardware for your window needs.
2. It is best to install the box, then fill it in with plants in place, because once the box is full, it can be quite heavy.
3. Next, place a layer of pebbles and/or bits of broken pottery at the bottom of your window box for drainage. Next, put in a layer of soil, then gently take plants from their nursery containers and place them so they have enough room to grow over the season. Finally, fill in the rest with soil and water thoroughly.
Note: Once well established over the course of spring and summer, watering and feeding them well, your herbs will grow wildly all summer, slow down in autumn, then quietly persevere through winter and reemerge with new growth each spring!
Herbs may be cut, dried and stored in a jar in your spice rack, but it is preferable to just let the plants be and clip as needed. The flavor of freshly picked herbs is unmatched.
Use organic plants and feed them organic fertilizer. You can feed your plants with your unflavored coffee grounds and tea leaves. Most herbs do not need pesticides.
Growing from seed: Unless you plan to be very dedicated to this project, don’t bother. It is best to buy plants already established. You can still buy seeds and scatter them into planters and take your chance but it can be a downer if nothing grows. Good choice for this experiment the really heart plants such as arugula, mint, mustard, lettuces. These should be planted separately in individual planters as they can all be quite invasive and take over your other plants.
Here is one of my favorite perennial herbs suitable for window boxes:
Lavender: Lavender is a perennial herb with a mesmerizing aroma used in many aromatherapy and culinary uses. Lavender will grow all summer, then turn a lovely silver color during winter, then burst into bloom and new growth with its lovely perfume and small.