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After the Christmas and New Year holidays, my house seems so uninspiring.
There is something about holiday decorations that make a house feel alive and full of energy.
I miss the lights the most.
Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day decorations help, but they just don’t fill the void.
To fight the blahs, I love to start seeds.
The green sprouts help me focus on the coming spring rather than the cold, dark winter.
They literally and figuratively bring life into my home!
There is something so quaint and heartwarming about herbs in a kitchen.
How to Plant a Windowsill Garden
To start, I purchased small pots that will fit my window.
The pots sit on a tray that will hold any excess water that drains out.
I only use an artificial indoor “soil” mix when planting in containers.
It is easily found at your local garden center or online and will help ensure success.
I don’t recommend using real soil from the ground for containers as it can become hard and compacted- not ideal for root growth.
Fill the containers approximately three-fourths full with the indoor potting mix.
If the potting mix is dry, water it so that it is premoistened before planting the seeds.
I will use them when making pasta sauce for my Italian husband!
To plant the basil, place approximately 8-10 seeds in a 4″ pot.
Cover them lightly with soil mix- about 1/4 inch deep.
Parsley can be a bit slow to germinate, so I soak the seed in a small dish with warm water for 24 hours before planting to help loosen the seed coat.
Then plant as noted above.
Both of these herbs germinate best at temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
If your windowsill is cold, the top of a refrigerator is a surprisingly warm place to germinate seeds!
Watering the Seeds
The key to success is to water the seeds thoroughly and keep the soil moist as they germinate.
I use a spray bottle to apply the water so I don’t flood the pot.
It is important to check them every other day to make sure the top of the soil is moist.
Depending on the herb, it usually takes about 5-7 days for the seeds to germinate and for sprouts to emerge.
As the herbs grow, I allow the top of the soil to dry before watering.
This lessens the likelihood of leaf diseases and insect development.
Providing Extra Light for Windowsill Herbs
Bright light is the key to achieving full, compact herbs.
Turn the plants regularly (every few days) so that they receive light from all sides and don’t grow in one direction.
It may be necessary to move the containers to another area of the home to get supplemental light, especially during long cloudy periods.
A desk-style grow light is a great investment if you have houseplants or do any type of indoor gardening.
They can make a difference in the appearance and outcome of any indoor plant.
Harvesting Herb Leaves
Once the plant has grown and has plenty of mature leaves, it is ready to be used.
Harvest the leaves by pinching back or cutting the stems.
Trimming leaves will not hurt the plant.
It will actually keep the plant compact and encourages more growth.
Once spring arrives and the chance of frost has passed, these herbs will go outside in the garden to enjoy all summer long!