Many people with limited space or who like quick accessibility keep a small herb or kitchen garden in their window. Specialized windows, called kitchen garden windows or just garden windows, are available to facilitate this and give more space to the kitchen gardener.
These windows are small bay windows (also called kitchen greenhouse windows) that maximize both shelf space for plants and light coming in. They are not required for kitchen garden growing, but are popular because of their benefits.
Growing herbs and kitchen plants in the window of the kitchen has been popular for a very long time. Many home kitchens as far back as the Victorian Era would have small pots of herbs or a garden box just outside the window, making for easy reach and clip access to things needed for the pot or pan.
Today, kitchen garden windows are grown for that very same reason: quick access to fresh, healthy and useful herbs and vegetables.
Growing a Window Kitchen Garden
Whether you have a kitchen greenhouse window or not, you can grow many useful things there. Many kitchen windows include herbs, spices, sprouts, small salad plants, and even small vegetable varieties.
To grow your own garden in a window, all you need is the space to do it and a simple plan. First, think about the location of the window. Is it south-facing? How much sunlight does it get? Most windows that are not on the north side of the house should be capable of at least six hours of sunlight daily. If your kitchen window gets less than that, you may need to consider using a window on another wall or in another room instead. Adding a grow light might also be a good idea to assist growing in a window if it is not south-facing.
Considering the space you have, think about your cooking style and what types of herbs you tend to use most often. Most successful kitchen window gardens begin with herbs. Growing three or four or even half a dozen herbs in the window is a good start on your kitchen garden. If you have a lot of kitchen window space, then you can add other plants such as cherry tomatoes, sprout growers, and more.
Next you’ll need to plant, organize, and care for those plants. Be sure to label the pots you’re growing the plants in so that you can easily identify what you need when the time comes for a quick cutting. Also be sure to know the details of your plant choices so you can harvest, replant, etc. Nothing is worse than ruining a good dish with herbs that have outgrown their flavor.
Use Proper Gardening Containers
The last and most often ignored advice is to use the right container. Many first-time kitchen gardeners choose containers based entirely on aesthetics. Your kitchen garden containers need to be of the right type for what you’re growing, have proper drainage, and functional enough for everyday use.
Small herb and spice plants can be grown in small terracotta or ceramic containers (assuming proper drainage) whereas larger plants, such as cherry tomatoes, will need larger containers. Each container will have space requirements to go with the plant itself and will also need to be considered for the type of soil and the longevity of the soil it keeps. Some containers, such as ceramics, will have a tendency to encourage mold in the soil, limiting its lifespan.
Putting it all together, you’ll find that choosing and planting kitchen garden plants is fairly easy and, once you get the hang of it, can offer year-round nutrition and joy to your cooking.