Four types of ‘easy’ vegetables to grow now on your windowsill

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Growing your own vegetables is a fun and simple way to get food on the table, and luckily it isn’t hard as many may think. Although winter is often seen as a time of rest for gardeners, according to an expert, there are many opportunities to carry on nurturing edibles inside the home. Resilient gardening expert, Kim Stoddart, told Express.co.uk: “Personally, I’m going to turn every available windowsill in my home over to plants and produce over the months ahead.

“Not only will it enable me to have lots of wider, home-grown edibles to bring to the table, it will save money off the weekly shop, and make me feel good in the process. 

“We are in for a really harsh winter so the joy of germinating seeds into plants, to provide healthy food for the home will take my mind off some of the horrible things happening outside.

“Also supermarket-packed vegetables just can’t compare in terms of freshness and flavour to just picked produce from the home. As well as windowsill plants, you can also boost growing opportunities outside with simple, thrifty adaptations to any raised beds and containers you already have to hand to provide weather protection.

“Old clear plastic shower curtains or windows for example can be used to turn a raised bed into a productive mini cold frame. Even large plastic windows can be cut in two and used over pots, it all helps.”

1. Pick and come again salad leaves

Kim, who is editor of The Organic Way magazine for Garden Organic and co-author of The Climate Change Garden book, said even the narrowest of windows can be used to grow mini salad leaves for “multiple pickings”.

Gardeners do not need dedicated indoor growing containers for salad leaves. Old plastic mushroom trays can be great “impromptu windowsill growers”.

The expert added: “Pack in your peat-free multipurpose or seed compost and sow loose leaf salad leaves like salad bowl about an inch apart and place somewhere sunny to aid germination.

“The baby leaves lend themselves best to indoor growing and are extra luscious. The more you pick, the more you get as well – fantastic.”

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Gardeners can also grow rocket leaf which is a great addition to many dishes. What’s more, Kim said it is “easy to grow” in this way.

As the seedlings get bigger and space runs out, the expert said gardeners should consider repotting some of the plants into further containers to maximise home grown supply.

2. Baby roots

The gardening expert continued: “Freshly picked baby carrots harvested in the depths of winter and cooked whole in maybe some butter are hard to beat. They are perfectly feasible to grow indoors out of season also. 

“Choose your container of choice, something deeper like a yogurt pot, or old wooden bread bin will better enable roots to form.  Sprinkle the seed about an inch apart in rows or around other produce to maximise the use of space and cover with your compost. 

“Once germination has occurred they will put on slow growth until they are ready to harvest in winter. To help them on their way, plant now while it’s still warm, or cover your container with glass or plastic to help coax the seed on its way. 

“You can also grow mini beetroot in this way and use the leaves like baby spinach for salad or cooking opportunities. Radish will work inside also.”

3. Young and exciting greens

Kim said: “Whilst any veg patch outside is likely to feature the likes of stalwart winter brassica, kale, chard and cabbage, the baby leaves you can nurture inside are a different form of edible entirely.”

They are great for salads and according to the expert, have more culinary uses than the tougher winter leaves or their larger outside compadre.

Oriental leaves can also be sown inside which are great for cooking. These include mizen, mibuna, Chinese mustard and pak choi.

The expert noted: “Sow again in your container of choice about an inch apart and watch as they emerge into new life and multiple picking opportunities with gusto.”

4. Herby pickings

Kim said if she could only grow one type of produce, it would have to be herbs. Herbs are great to grow inside and there is so much variety on offer such as oregano, mint, thyme and fennel.

They can add so much flavour and nutritional gain to meals and one plant goes a long way. The expert added: “You can grow herbs on a windowsill in this way and there are so many benefits to doing so.

“Just some of my favourites including coriander as it’s sure a taste of summer and the plant won’t bolt like it does during the summer, so you can keep picking its lovely zesty leaves.

“Parsley is also fantastic and packed full of flavour and vitamin C. It’s incredibly good for you so I add it to every meal I can.”

Kim has been writing about climate change and resilience since 2013 and helps people grow delicious fruit and vegetables naturally, with less time and money overall. She runs lots of courses including online to help people grow food at home all year round, including inside on the windowsill over winter.

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