Window Boxes...what do I need to know please?

(5 Posts)

Hello - my first foray onto Gardening so waves....as house now finished (been living on Property/DIY for an age).

Have a huge garden job ahead of me (will take years) but would like to start with an instant-ish win (I hope) by adding a window box to the side of the house.

The window is about 2 meters long and I plan to grow herbs in it. Really been missing my old herb garden. Next door has 17 cats so am also hoping a window box will be a "safe" place to put them. (The herbs, not the cats)

Anyway, 'nuff waffle....before I go venturing on line/to the garden centre to look at/purchase said boxes, what do I need to know please?

Can I just go for the ones that look prettiest (hopeful) or should I actually be aware of more practical things...like....well...er....am not sure....tis why I am here really.

And do I put pots in my windowbox or just fill with compost and plant in that? What sort of compost would be best?

Please help me from being herb and clueless to windowboxed and herby blessed with mint for cocktails and pimms

Thank you!

MooncupGoddess Tue 12-Mar-13 19:19:18

Well, obviously you will need to make sure you can attach it securely to the windowsill. As long as it has drainage holes you could choose any one you liked, I'd have thought!

Normal compost should be fine, but add lots of water retaining granules as it will dry out very quickly. It will probably be sheltered by the side of the house and not get much rain.

Thyme and chives do well for me. Never had much luck with parsley and basil, and coriander always bolts (but I am quite neglectful).

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 12-Mar-13 20:55:26

Generally, I'd plant into the windowbox, but mint should be in a submerged pot as otherwise it will swamp everything else.

If you're going for a permanent planting, it might be good to mix some John Innes compost (which has more 'body') with general purpose compost. Think too about the weight - a big terracotta windowbox can weigh a lot when filled, so it might be useful to mix in some Perlite or Vermiculite to keep the weight down and aid drainage. MooncupGoddess is right about water-retaining gel but you don't want a soggy, heavy window box that will crack the windowsill!

Will this windowbox be in sun? That might dictate what you grow. Mint doesn't mind shade but some herbs -such as lavender - are more picky.

Thank you - some stuff to think about here....though got side tracked with stairs carpet now...rainy weather, me and gardening do not mix grin

- Deeper the better
- plastic ones will retain moisture better and therefore need less/grow better plants than terracotta
- line the bottom with smashed up crockery or stones for drainage
- chives, rosemary & thyme all grow well
- water gel or broken polystyrene or upturned water bottles all help keep it hydrated
- gravel on top will stop moisture disappearing if it's in a very sunny spot
- if you get bored of herbs, geraniums & petunias never fail to look fab in a window box

Happy growing!

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