Window Gardens: A Hobby for the Hurried (G. ANTOSH)

Read at : Gary Antosh <gha@netrus.net>

http://www.plantcaretips.com/window-gardening.html

Window Gardens:  A Hobby for the Hurried

Gardening can be a relaxing hobby. In fact, studies have shown that gardening reduces stress and even increases longevity. Unfortunately, traditional gardening consumes so much time that the people who need relaxation most rarely have time to garden.

Luckily, there is an alternative for busy people, a window garden. Gardening in a window can be as simple as buying several potted plants and putting them on a windowsill. For people with just a bit more time on their hands, a window box offers more room for creativity.

Start a Window Box…

To start a window box garden, you will need a nice deep window box that runs the width of your windowsill. You can find a box that blends with any decor, ranging from fancy wrought iron boxes with glass inserts to simple solid cedar boxes. Of course, the inexpensive shallower plastic window boxes will also work, but these boxes require more maintenance, since they will dry out much more quickly.

While you are picking out your window box, don’t forget to look for brackets so that you can hang the box to your window sill. You will also need a bag of potting soil, some type of mulch, such as small pebbles or dried moss, and water retaining crystals.

Before you begin planting your window box, you will need to install it securely. Remember, your window box may be fairly light right now, but once it is filled with moist soil, it will be much heavier and will need to be well supported. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure the brackets are correctly installed and then lower your window box into place.

Once your window box is installed, you are ready to begin preparing the box for planting. If your potting mix is not pre-moistened, dampen it so it will not be so dusty to work with.

Mix your potting soil with the water retaining crystals and fill the bottom of the window box with the mixture. Leave the top four inches of the window box unfilled so that you can place your plants in the box without making too much of a mess.

Now, it is time for the fun part, designing your window box garden. You will need to decide on a theme for your window box. Then you will need to select several plants that are not too big or invasive to plant in your box. If you are unsure about whether you can design your window box garden, try one of these simple planting themes.

If you love to cook, a culinary window box may be the ideal choice for you. For a standard sized window box, you will need to buy one parsley plant, one oregano or basil plant, and three chive plants. Position the plants so that you have one chive plant on each end and one chive plant directly in the middle.

If you enjoy flowers, you may want to change your window box several times a year. In late winter, plant a row of six to nine daffodil or tulip bulbs. Then, as soon as the bulbs are done blooming and the weather grows a bit warmer, remove the bulbs and plant three geraniums and two Dusty Miller or two vinca vines in the box.

Once you select your plants and place them in the box, carefully use the rest of your potting soil mixture to fill in the empty spaces around your plants. Be sure you do not cover the plantís stems and leaves with the potting soil. They should be planted so that the new potting soil is even with the soil already on their roots. Gently press down the potting soil around each plant and then thoroughly water your window box. However, be careful not to add too much water. The soil should feel as wet as a sponge after excess water is squeezed out.

Finally, apply an even layer of your mulching material over the surface of the potting soil in your window box. The mulch should be approximately an inch thick. However, be sure you do not place the mulch directly against the plantsí stems. They need a bit of air around their stems to stay healthy.

Caring for your window box is simple. Just check the box two to three times a week to be sure you do not need to water it. The water retaining crystals should keep the potting soil from drying out too quickly.

Now, when you are feeling tired or stressed, you can pause for a few seconds to enjoy the natural beauty of your window box.

Sponsored by – Indoor House Plant Secrets

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.