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Windowsill Planting
Even if you don’t have anywhere else, you
can always grow plants in pots on a wide windowsill.
Pots or windowsill troughs of flowers and
vegetables can stay on the windowsill yearround or be put outside in warm weather. Cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers will all grow
well inside on a sunny south-facing windowsill. They will need to be in large pots (at least
30cm diameter) if they are to produce crops.

This can be done very simply.

Watering

1.

The growing medium that the plants are in
must be kept moist, but not too wet, at all
times. Seedlings will die if their roots get too
dry or too wet. It is better to water the seedlings from below, so place boxes on a waterproof tray. Water can then be poured into the
tray rather than onto the seedlings. Plants
can be watered with a watering can that has
a fine rose, but only when not in full sun.

2.
3.
4.

Take a cardboard box that will fit onto
the window ledge.
Cut off the top.
Cut out the front to leave only 3-4cm of
cardboard.
Draw a diagonal line from the top of the
new front edge to the top corner at the
back of the box. Cut along this line.

Hardening off

Seed germination
Most seeds need warmth to germinate. Once
they have germinated and the leaves are
through the surface, they need light as well
as warmth. This means that a sunny windowsill is ideal. However, the seedlings will be
scorched in direct sunlight. If the window is
south-facing, stick a piece of plain white paper onto the glass during the middle of the
day to shade the seedlings.
You need to place the newly germinated
seedlings as close to the glass as possible. If
they are too far away they will start to grow
and bend towards the light, becoming long
and leggy. To prevent this you must reflect
the light to the back of the seedlings.

5.
6.
7.
8.

Line the base and sides with plastic.
Line the back with cooking foil, shiny
side showing.
Place pots of seedlings inside, no more
than three rows deep.
Place on windowsill.

Once the plants are strong enough they can
be hardened off to go out into the garden or
put into a windowsill planter to stay inside.

Windowsill growing—A Student’s Guide

This means getting the plants used to
outside conditions. If the plants are to go outside then they need to be hardened off.
To do this you need to put the plants outside during the day and then bring them inside at night. Do this for about a week.
After a week you can leave them outside at
night, but cover them overnight with paper or
plastic. Again you need to do this for about a
week. The plants can then be planted out
into the garden.
This is important for plants that originally
come from warmer countries. Many of these
plants are only half-hardy.
Pests Indoors

Types of Plant
There are a number of different types of plant
that you can grow.
Half-hardy— need to be germinated in
warmth, and grown in warm
conditions until the last
frost has passed.
Hardy —

Annual —

seed will germinate and
plants will grow outside.
Some of them will grow
better if started in pots or
trays inside at first as this
will protect them from the
weather and animals.
grows from seed, flowers,
produces new seed and dies
all in one season.

Perennial — grows from seeds or cuttings
and survives year after year.
Biennial — grows from seed in one year,
overwinters, then flowers,
produces seed and dies the
next year.

Aphids
These creatures like the warm and still air
found indoors. Outside, aphids get eaten by
predators such as ladybirds and lacewings.
However, these predators don’t normally
come inside. To help control aphids you
need to grow plants that will encourage lacewings, hoverflies and ladybirds to come inside. Californian poppy and poached egg
plant are good ones. You can also squash
the aphids with your fingers.

Windowsill
planting

Red Spider Mite
These are usually found underneath the
leaves of plants. They feed by sucking the
juices from the plant, and creating fine webs.
The leaves begin to look yellow and mottled
and if the pest is not controlled they will suck
the leaves dry. Control by spraying with insecticidal soap or use the biological control
Phytosieulus persimilis the predator of Red
Spider Mite. Mist plants often as this pest
hates moisture
Soft Scale and Mealy Bug
Soft scale looks like small brown lumps.
Mealy bug looks like small lumps of fluffy cotton. Both these pests can be removed with
tooth picks. Just scrape them off carefully
without damaging the plant.

A student’s guide to
growing plants on a
windowsill.
Garden Organic
for Schools
Windowsill Planting
Wide windowsills are perfect places to grow
plants. It is easy for students to follow plant
life cycles.

1.
2.
3.
4.

Pots or windowsill troughs of flowers and
vegetables can be grown on the windowsill
year round or be put outside in warm
weather.
Cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers will all grow well inside on a sunny
south-facing windowsill. However, they will
need to be in large pots (at least 30cm diameter) if they are to produce crops.

Seed germination
Most seeds need warmth for germination.
Once they have germinated and the leaves
are through the surface, they need light as
well as warmth. This means that a sunny
windowsill is ideal. However, young seedlings can get scorched if they are in full sun.
If the window is south facing stick a piece of
plain white paper onto the window during the
middle of the day. This will help to protect the
young plants.
You need to place the seedlings as close to
the glass as possible. If they are too far away
once they start to grow, they’ll bend towards
the light, becoming long and leggy. To help
prevent this happening you must reflect the
light back towards the seedlings. Students
can easily make a box for this purpose.

Take a cardboard box that will fit onto
the window ledge.
Cut off the top.
Cut out the front to leave only 3-4cm
cardboard.
Cut away most of the sides for about
two-thirds of their length and then angle
up to leave a high back.

Place pots on a waterproof tray, and pour the
water into the tray rather than directly onto
the seedlings. Plants can be watered from
above with a watering can that has a fine
rose, but only when not in full sun.
Remember seedlings will die if their roots get
too dry or wet.

Hardening off
If the plants are to go outside then they need
to be hardened off. This means getting the
plants used to outside conditions.

5.
6.
7.
8.

Line the base and sides with plastic.
Line the back with cooking foil, shiny
side showing.
Place plants inside no more than three
rows deep.
Place on windowsill.

Once the plants are strong enough they can
be hardened off for planting out into the garden, or transplanted into a windowsill planter
to stay inside.

Watering
The growing medium that the plants are in
must be kept moist, but not too wet, at all
times. Water the seedlings from below.

Windowsill planting—A Teacher’s Guide

To do this, put the plants outside during the
day, then bring them inside at night. Do this
for about a week.
After a week you can leave them outside at
night, but cover them overnight with paper or
plastic sheeting. Again you need to do this
for about a week. The plants are then ready
to be planted out into the garden.
This process is for plants that originally come
from warmer countries. Most of these plants
are half-hardy.
Indoor Pests

Types of Plant
There are a number of different types of plant
that you can grow.
Half-hardy— need to be germinated in
warmth and grown in warm conditions
until the last frost has passed. This is
usually the end of May or the
beginning of June.
Hardy—seed will germinate and plants will
grow outside. Some of them will grow
better if started in pots or trays
under cover as this will protect them
from the weather and animals.
Annual— grows from seed, flowers,
produces new seed and dies all in one
season.
Perennial— grows from seeds or cuttings
and will survive year after year.
Biennial—grows from seed in one year,
overwinters, then flowers and
produces seed, and dies the next year.

Aphids
These creatures like the warm and still air
found indoors. Outside, aphids get eaten by
predators such as ladybirds and lacewings.
However, these predators don’t normally
come inside. To help control the aphids, you
need to grow plants that will encourage lacewings, hoverflies and ladybirds to come inside. Californian poppy and poached egg
plant are good ones. You can also spray with
insecticidal soap or squash aphids with your
fingers.
Red Spider Mite
These are usually found underneath the
leaves of plants. They feed by sucking the
juices from the plant, and creating fine webs.
The leaves begin to look yellow and mottled.
If the mites are not controlled they will suck
the leaves dry. To control the pest you can
spray with an insecticidal soap or buy the biological control Phytosieulus persimilis the
predator of Red Spider Mite. Mist plants often
as this pest hates moisture.

Further Reading

Soft Scale and Mealy Bug

Growing from seed
—Garden Organic Guide

Soft scale looks like small brown lumps.
Mealy bug looks like small lumps of fluffy cotton. Both these pests can be removed with
tooth picks. Just scrape them off carefully
without damaging the plant.

Growing Naturally
—M. Brown, Southgate 1996
RHS Organic Gardening
—P.Pears and S.Stickland,

Windowsill
planting

A teacher’s guide to
growing plants on a
windowsill.
DUCHY ORIGINALS HDRA
Organic Gardens for Schools

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A Teacher’s Guide to Growing Plants on a Windowsill

  • 1. Windowsill Planting Even if you don’t have anywhere else, you can always grow plants in pots on a wide windowsill. Pots or windowsill troughs of flowers and vegetables can stay on the windowsill yearround or be put outside in warm weather. Cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers will all grow well inside on a sunny south-facing windowsill. They will need to be in large pots (at least 30cm diameter) if they are to produce crops. This can be done very simply. Watering 1. The growing medium that the plants are in must be kept moist, but not too wet, at all times. Seedlings will die if their roots get too dry or too wet. It is better to water the seedlings from below, so place boxes on a waterproof tray. Water can then be poured into the tray rather than onto the seedlings. Plants can be watered with a watering can that has a fine rose, but only when not in full sun. 2. 3. 4. Take a cardboard box that will fit onto the window ledge. Cut off the top. Cut out the front to leave only 3-4cm of cardboard. Draw a diagonal line from the top of the new front edge to the top corner at the back of the box. Cut along this line. Hardening off Seed germination Most seeds need warmth to germinate. Once they have germinated and the leaves are through the surface, they need light as well as warmth. This means that a sunny windowsill is ideal. However, the seedlings will be scorched in direct sunlight. If the window is south-facing, stick a piece of plain white paper onto the glass during the middle of the day to shade the seedlings. You need to place the newly germinated seedlings as close to the glass as possible. If they are too far away they will start to grow and bend towards the light, becoming long and leggy. To prevent this you must reflect the light to the back of the seedlings. 5. 6. 7. 8. Line the base and sides with plastic. Line the back with cooking foil, shiny side showing. Place pots of seedlings inside, no more than three rows deep. Place on windowsill. Once the plants are strong enough they can be hardened off to go out into the garden or put into a windowsill planter to stay inside. Windowsill growing—A Student’s Guide This means getting the plants used to outside conditions. If the plants are to go outside then they need to be hardened off. To do this you need to put the plants outside during the day and then bring them inside at night. Do this for about a week. After a week you can leave them outside at night, but cover them overnight with paper or plastic. Again you need to do this for about a week. The plants can then be planted out into the garden. This is important for plants that originally come from warmer countries. Many of these plants are only half-hardy.
  • 2. Pests Indoors Types of Plant There are a number of different types of plant that you can grow. Half-hardy— need to be germinated in warmth, and grown in warm conditions until the last frost has passed. Hardy — Annual — seed will germinate and plants will grow outside. Some of them will grow better if started in pots or trays inside at first as this will protect them from the weather and animals. grows from seed, flowers, produces new seed and dies all in one season. Perennial — grows from seeds or cuttings and survives year after year. Biennial — grows from seed in one year, overwinters, then flowers, produces seed and dies the next year. Aphids These creatures like the warm and still air found indoors. Outside, aphids get eaten by predators such as ladybirds and lacewings. However, these predators don’t normally come inside. To help control aphids you need to grow plants that will encourage lacewings, hoverflies and ladybirds to come inside. Californian poppy and poached egg plant are good ones. You can also squash the aphids with your fingers. Windowsill planting Red Spider Mite These are usually found underneath the leaves of plants. They feed by sucking the juices from the plant, and creating fine webs. The leaves begin to look yellow and mottled and if the pest is not controlled they will suck the leaves dry. Control by spraying with insecticidal soap or use the biological control Phytosieulus persimilis the predator of Red Spider Mite. Mist plants often as this pest hates moisture Soft Scale and Mealy Bug Soft scale looks like small brown lumps. Mealy bug looks like small lumps of fluffy cotton. Both these pests can be removed with tooth picks. Just scrape them off carefully without damaging the plant. A student’s guide to growing plants on a windowsill. Garden Organic for Schools
  • 3. Windowsill Planting Wide windowsills are perfect places to grow plants. It is easy for students to follow plant life cycles. 1. 2. 3. 4. Pots or windowsill troughs of flowers and vegetables can be grown on the windowsill year round or be put outside in warm weather. Cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers will all grow well inside on a sunny south-facing windowsill. However, they will need to be in large pots (at least 30cm diameter) if they are to produce crops. Seed germination Most seeds need warmth for germination. Once they have germinated and the leaves are through the surface, they need light as well as warmth. This means that a sunny windowsill is ideal. However, young seedlings can get scorched if they are in full sun. If the window is south facing stick a piece of plain white paper onto the window during the middle of the day. This will help to protect the young plants. You need to place the seedlings as close to the glass as possible. If they are too far away once they start to grow, they’ll bend towards the light, becoming long and leggy. To help prevent this happening you must reflect the light back towards the seedlings. Students can easily make a box for this purpose. Take a cardboard box that will fit onto the window ledge. Cut off the top. Cut out the front to leave only 3-4cm cardboard. Cut away most of the sides for about two-thirds of their length and then angle up to leave a high back. Place pots on a waterproof tray, and pour the water into the tray rather than directly onto the seedlings. Plants can be watered from above with a watering can that has a fine rose, but only when not in full sun. Remember seedlings will die if their roots get too dry or wet. Hardening off If the plants are to go outside then they need to be hardened off. This means getting the plants used to outside conditions. 5. 6. 7. 8. Line the base and sides with plastic. Line the back with cooking foil, shiny side showing. Place plants inside no more than three rows deep. Place on windowsill. Once the plants are strong enough they can be hardened off for planting out into the garden, or transplanted into a windowsill planter to stay inside. Watering The growing medium that the plants are in must be kept moist, but not too wet, at all times. Water the seedlings from below. Windowsill planting—A Teacher’s Guide To do this, put the plants outside during the day, then bring them inside at night. Do this for about a week. After a week you can leave them outside at night, but cover them overnight with paper or plastic sheeting. Again you need to do this for about a week. The plants are then ready to be planted out into the garden. This process is for plants that originally come from warmer countries. Most of these plants are half-hardy.
  • 4. Indoor Pests Types of Plant There are a number of different types of plant that you can grow. Half-hardy— need to be germinated in warmth and grown in warm conditions until the last frost has passed. This is usually the end of May or the beginning of June. Hardy—seed will germinate and plants will grow outside. Some of them will grow better if started in pots or trays under cover as this will protect them from the weather and animals. Annual— grows from seed, flowers, produces new seed and dies all in one season. Perennial— grows from seeds or cuttings and will survive year after year. Biennial—grows from seed in one year, overwinters, then flowers and produces seed, and dies the next year. Aphids These creatures like the warm and still air found indoors. Outside, aphids get eaten by predators such as ladybirds and lacewings. However, these predators don’t normally come inside. To help control the aphids, you need to grow plants that will encourage lacewings, hoverflies and ladybirds to come inside. Californian poppy and poached egg plant are good ones. You can also spray with insecticidal soap or squash aphids with your fingers. Red Spider Mite These are usually found underneath the leaves of plants. They feed by sucking the juices from the plant, and creating fine webs. The leaves begin to look yellow and mottled. If the mites are not controlled they will suck the leaves dry. To control the pest you can spray with an insecticidal soap or buy the biological control Phytosieulus persimilis the predator of Red Spider Mite. Mist plants often as this pest hates moisture. Further Reading Soft Scale and Mealy Bug Growing from seed —Garden Organic Guide Soft scale looks like small brown lumps. Mealy bug looks like small lumps of fluffy cotton. Both these pests can be removed with tooth picks. Just scrape them off carefully without damaging the plant. Growing Naturally —M. Brown, Southgate 1996 RHS Organic Gardening —P.Pears and S.Stickland, Windowsill planting A teacher’s guide to growing plants on a windowsill. DUCHY ORIGINALS HDRA Organic Gardens for Schools