Plants to Grow in your Bedroom
Despite the title, this is not an article on growing illegal substances but rather a way to reduce your weekly food shopping bill or, at the very least, add some flavour and identity to the pasta dish you tend to cook each evening.
What you can actually grow on your windowsill or in your room may surprise you in both variety and aspiration. In time, you might find your entire household or halls of residence colleagues join you in your horticulture ventures and you might end with an entire kitchen garden going on.
But for now, it is the window sill outside your bedroom we are focused on. The first thing to get right is the preparation. Buy some suitable containers from the garden centre and use compost specially designed for container-grown plants. This is important as the compost will hold onto water better and have extra nutrients to get your plants off to a good start. Use soil or loam-based composts; extra nutrients or plant food; and water-retaining granules.
Before adding the compost, line the bottom of your container with stones or pieces of broken pots or, if you want to save weight, broken polystyrene packaging. This helps drain excess water away. Now you are ready to start planting.
Don’t overcrowd your pots, plants like a bit of space to grow, so think carefully about what you will plant. If you have a tall window frame, then beans and peas can be grown – remember you will need to stake them as they get higher. With deep pots you can plant carrots, salad leaves will grow in shallow containers, while herbs will need their own, spacious containers – especially mint, which spreads quickly. As a guide a 20cm deep container is fine for salad leaves and 30cm for carrots and beans.
Plants will dry out quite quickly on windowsills. The containers dry rapidly and rain doesn’t reach the containers because of roof overhangs. Water often, but don’t overwater – that’ll kill plants too. Test if you’ve got it right by poking a finger into the compost. If it’s slightly moist just below the surface, that’s perfect.
The plants will also benefit from extra feeding. Living in containers, they will soon use all the nutrients that occur in the soil, so use a liquid feed on a fortnightly basis.
Remember, you can also grow some plants inside. If your window has a sunny aspect you can grow basil, bush tomatoes and peppers and chills.
Lots of veg like being planted with flowers and this can have the added benefit of attracting bees and discouraging other pests that might damage your vegetables. Brighten things up by planting a few flowers alongside your vegetables – French marigolds are particularly good because they discourage pests as well as looking pretty.
Here are some of the fruit and vegetables you could grow in your student digs. Some take a little more care and ‘green-fingered’ knowledge than others:
- Micro salad leaves and regular salad leaves
- herbs (basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, parsley are all easy to grow)
- lemons (only in a very sunny spot)
- bell peppers
And if you are oblivious to the fungal smell, you can even grow mushrooms in a darker, warm space!