Outside the window, there is a snowstorm, and everything around is white, and on the cozy kitchen windowsill, green-bound living spices with the unusual smell of fresh spring herbs envelop a pleasant aroma that beckons to the table.
Spicy and aromatic herbs and other green plants a dual purpose in the winter kitchen. They provide gourmets and lovers of refined flavors with fresh vitamins, decorate dishes, elicit a healthy appetite, and are part of a variety of cold cuts, salads, and side dishes. Many herbs are used as a remedy for colds and flu. Meanwhile, bright, fresh greens adorn the interior of the kitchen, bringing a touch of freshness to the design, which is filled with appliances, tableware, and other households “helpers.”
WHERE TO GROW GREENERY IN WINTER?
The most suitable location for growing winter vegetables is the south or southeast windowsill, where the most heat and light are available. If this possibility is ruled out, the future location of the vegetable garden will be equipped with additional insulation and backlighting. In terms of lighting, lights with a red and blue-ray spectrum are considered best. You can use lights with yellow or orange rays that will not be annoying. In addition, the light fixture should not emit heat that could burn the plant.
WHAT CAN I GROW ON MY WINDOWSILL?
The most suitable crops for winter growing are those that do not require special conditions and do not require much care (soil, temperature, watering, lighting). They are usually pungent or herbs with a short asexual reproduction period and fast recovery of asexual reproduction volume, allowing to make several large cuts in the fall and winter (for the holidays) or constantly use a small amount for the table or medicinal teas.
Depending on the crop and variety, you can start harvesting spicy, vitamin-based vegetables in as little as 1-2 weeks. To have fresh vegetables throughout the fall and winter seasons, it is more practical to sow them in stages, observing intervals of 7-12-15 days.
GENERAL RULES FOR GROWING AROMATIC HERBS ON THE WINDOWSILL
The winter vegetable garden on the windowsill is laid in November-December-January, depending on the climatic conditions of the region. The optimal air temperature for growing herbs is 64-68 °F (18-20 °C).
If the air temperature in the kitchen is high, hardy cultures should be placed near the window glass, and thermophilic cultures – in the second row near the radiator. The room is regularly ventilated, there is no ventilation.
Sow pungent plants in fertilized soil, which will reduce or eliminate the need for further fertilization. Before the seeds germinate, cover them with a dark film to simulate a small greenhouse. It is possible to grow some crops by baking them in water instead of planting/sowing them without using soil. These crops include Celery, Onion, Garlic, salads, leafy beets, fragrant perennial herbs, etc. All types of greens used to promote water can also be grown in the soil if desired.
Soil should always be moist. Water winter herbs with evaporated water at room temperature. Chlorinated cold water will quickly kill young shoots and plants. Water when the soil crust becomes dry. Do not submerge plants. They will rot from excessive moisture. It is best to spray the above-ground parts more often with a fine sprayer.
The use of chemicals to prevent diseases and pests is prohibited.
Therefore, let’s get familiar with the types of spicy and aromatic plants suitable for growing in winter.
Dill is an annual herb of the Umbelliferae family. Wild dill is endemic to central and southwestern Asia, Iran, and the Himalayas. As a cultivated vegetable plant and weed, it grows on all continents where the climate is suitable for cultivation.
Dill is a plant with a single or branched stem. The leaves are repeatedly pinnately divided and scented. Sessile, with sheath-like leaves on the lower part of the stem. The upper part of the stem is rosemary with small leaves. The flowers are small, yellowish in hue, clustered in double and triple umbels. Dill blooms in June and July; the fruit ripens in July and September. Dill is characterized by rapid regeneration of the cut greenery. Dill is used for fresh consumption, and its seeds are used as a medicinal ingredient.
Useful properties of dill
The green matter of dill contains vitamins, organic acids, a large number of mineral salts, flavonoids, carbohydrates, pectin substances. All parts of the plant contain essential oils, which produce a special, refreshing odor that enhances the taste of food.
All the organic compounds in dill normalize the body’s metabolism. It is used for gallbladder, liver, gastrointestinal disorders as a diuretic to treat high blood pressure and other diseases.
Dill seeds grown on windowsills
Dill seeds are scattered and sown on the surface of the soil mixture and covered with the same soil. Soak the seeds in a warm solution of a non-toxic universal rooting agent or other root-forming agents for a day before sowing. Germination on the 3rd-4th days, without soaking – on the 10th-12th days.
Caring for dill on the windowsill
Dill needs to be watered promptly, not too much, and sprayed with clean water (if needed). A pale green color (if this is not a sign of the variety) indicates the need for fertilization. You can use Kemira fertilizer, an infusion of wood ash, or a flower fertilizer with trace elements.
If the dill buds grow to 1.5-2inch (4-5cm) and remain single-stemmed, prune the top to promote plant tillering. On days 25-35, depending on the variety, the first dill greens will adorn the table. When the leaf cluster reaches a height of 2-4inch (6-10 cm), you can start using individual leaves.
Dill varieties for windowsills
Among the dill varieties for windowsills, it is best to plant the following: Bouquet, Compatto, Delikat, Dukat, Elephant, Fernleaf, Greensleeves, Hera, Herkules, Mammoth Long Island, Superdukat, Teddy, Vierling. Teddy, Vierling. They form dense, fragrant, well-foliaged green bushes that constantly form young shoots from the leaf axils.
Parsley is the most popular and spicy crop in the Umbelliferae family. It is impossible to imagine a winter kitchen windowsill without this crop. Undemanding and hardy, it can decorate any dish and give character to soups. It is best to grow regular Parsley on the windowsill or garden Parsley.
Parsley is native to the Mediterranean. Culturally, Parsley occupies a vast area in several regions, including Europe. Parsley is cultivated in homes everywhere.
Parsley is a biennial herb with straight stems. In the first year, depending on the species, it forms a leafy rosette and an elongated root or rhizome. The leaves have multiple petiolules and are bright green and glossy. The plant flowers in the second year. The flowers are small, white, and clustered in compound umbels. The fruit is ovoid and slightly compressed when viewed from the side. Parsley has been used for thousands of years as a food and medicinal plant.
Useful properties of Parsley
The leaves and roots/stems of Parsley are very rich in vitamins, trace elements, and essential oils that give the crop its special aroma. The leaf mass contains four times more vitamin C than lemon. The protein and sugar content of the root crop is over 4% and 7%, respectively.
In medicine, Parsley is used as a diuretic, choleretic, for coughs in bronchitis, hypotension, anemia, arthritis, cystitis, and other diseases. However, Parsley has contraindications. A physician should be consulted for therapeutic use.
Remember! Parsley is contraindicated in children under 2 years of age.
Parsley has long been used in cooking for its pleasant taste and rich organic compounds in salads as an additive to various garnishes, soups, fish, and meat dishes. It has the property of making people feel full quickly.
Sowing Parsley for greenhouse cultivation
Prepare the seeds and sow Parsley like dill.
How to keep Parsley on the windowsill
Parsley is a cold-resistant crop. It can be placed directly against the window glass. It needs lots of light and plenty of watering but does not tolerate excessive moisture. Parsley shoots must be thinned, leaving shoots after 1-2inch (3-5cm). When you reach 3-4inch (8-10 cm), you can start cutting vegetables. When sown from seed, Parsley can grow for 8-10 months in home conditions.
To speed up the production of greens, Parsley is grown by the wrapping method of root vegetables in containers. In the fall, before the onset of permanent cold weather, Parsley roots 2inch (5cm) long and 1-2inch (2.5-5cm) wide with well-developed petioles are dug up. Plant in containers at 0.8-1.2inch (2-3 cm) per row and 1.5-2inch (4-5 cm) between rows. Keep the container in a cool place until young shoots appear. Then place it on a windowsill by the window. The fruit on the table ripens in 25-30 days.
Parsley varieties suitable for planting on the windowsill
The most suitable Parsley varieties for winter planting are considered early maturing: curled leaf parsley (var. crispum), Flat-leaf parsley (var. neapolitanum Danert), Hamburg parsley (var. tuberosum), etc.
More related information about growing Parsley plants
Garden cress (or curly cress), is a member of the cabbage or cruciferous family. Known as mustard and cress, garden pepper cress, pepperwort, peppergrass, or poor man’s pepper, it is native to Iran. Under natural conditions, the plant occupies a wide area in Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, and the United States. Under permitted conditions, it grows everywhere as a pungent crop.
The unusual pungent taste and aroma of Garden cress, reminiscent of a mixture of horseradish, mustard, and radish, is in somewhat less demand among lovers of fresh aromatic vegetables.
Because of its unusual odor and pungent taste, it is commonly referred to as a stink bug. But behind the peculiar smell of this miniature plant is a very useful and necessary, especially in winter, edible crop.
The young leaves Garden cress facilitate the strengthening of the immune system, cleanse the body of toxins and support normal blood pressure. The small leaves on the fine stems contain a large amount of vitamins, minerals, and other organic compounds, which are constantly needed by the body.
Garden cress is a 1-2-year-old herb. In-home cultivation, it grows between 4-12inch (10-30 cm) in height and up to 24inch (60 cm) in natural conditions.
There are three types of leaves on glaucous stems. The lower ones have forked petioles, the middle of the stem is occupied by leaves with three-lobed leaf lamellae, and the higher ones are linear or rounded-linear with full margins.
The corolla petals are delicate white or pale pink—garden cress flowers from the third half of June until almost the end of July. The fruit is a pod. Maturity is gradual – from June to November.
Useful properties of Garden cress
Like other pungent crops, Garden cress is rich in vitamins. In mineral salts, fresh plant leaves contain more than 15 minerals. The leaves and roots contain essential oils and other substances.
This annual plant can reach a height of 24 inches (60 cm) and has many branches in the upper part. The white to pink flowers are only 2 mm wide and are gathered in small branched racemes. When eaten raw, Garden cress is a highly nutritious food, containing high levels of vitamins A, C, and K as well as many dietary minerals.
Garden cress is only used in its fresh form. When dried, the plant loses many of its valuable culinary qualities. It is used as a seasoning for the first and second courses, in sauces for fish, meat, gravies, omelets.
Garden cress is useful as an antibacterial agent, improves digestion, calms NS, and lowers blood pressure. It is a good anticoagulant. The leaves are widely used as a gargle for inflammatory processes in the respiratory tract, and the juice is used for anemia.
Garden cress has contraindications in certain diseases and for use as an allergic plant. Be careful!
Sowing Garden cress grown on a windowsill
Grow in a container with soil, same as Parsley and dill. In addition, Garden cress can be grown without soil, especially when young, spicy vegetables are needed for the holiday table.
Seeds are sown in a flat tray with a desiccant cloth soaked in water. 2-3 days after receiving sprouts, fresh greens are ready to use when they are 1.5-3inch (4-8cm) tall. You can use sprouted seeds in your dishes, which is very useful.
Take care of the Garden cress on the windowsill
Garden cress does not tolerate bright light. He should be provided with a semblance. It is hardy. It is best to place it near the window glass and keep the temperature no higher than 64°F (18°C). Garden cress grows very fast.
To exclude the bending of fine shoots to strong light, it is necessary to change the position of the container relative to the sun every day. Prefers humidity.
Garden cress requires daily watering and constant spraying of the above-ground parts. Harvest when the height of the above-ground parts is 2.5-4inch (6.5-10 cm).
Garden cress varieties
Early cultivars belonging to different types of garden Garden cress can be cultivated at home: seeded Garden cress, curly and full-leaved, available in different colors of green blocks, from emerald green to yellow-green and blue matte.
The most delicate greens are the full-leaved varieties: Peppergrass, Brassicaceae, Rockcress, Winter cress, Pennycress, Watercress, Yellow cress. In the curly species, the leaves are very rough. The vegetables are somewhat coarse but taste more savory and flavor fish dishes, meats, soups, and sandwiches.
The smell of Celery comes from the herbaceous flora, which belongs to the Umbelliferae family. It is known as parsley, soda and is often referred to as parsley.
Distribution area – Europe, Asia, Africa. The wild form is common in the Mediterranean region. The ancient Greeks once called Celery juice a magical love potion that imparts masculinity to men. This pungent plant is grown successfully on windowsills today, more often as a berry crop.
Celery is a 2-year-old herbaceous crop with erect, branched, densely toothed stems covered with two types of leaves. The lower one is a rosette, large, bright green, and petiolate. The petioles are fleshy, with double and pinnately compound leaves. Cauline leaves are almost sessile and poorly pinnate. Celery can be divided into three categories.
- Rhizomatous Celery.
- With the petiole.
- And leafy, or curly Celery.
It is more practical to bake with root and leafy Celery because they form a leafy mass in a very short time.
Useful properties of Celery
The pharmacological properties of Celery are highly valued by the official pharmacopeia (diuretics, heart, genital diseases). Medicinal raw materials are almost all parts of the plant – roots and rhizomes, above-ground parts, and seeds.
Celery is an anti-allergic plant, which is very important for people with allergies. It is used to treat diabetes, osteochondrosis, genitourinary disorders, cystitis, gout, loss of appetite, and other diseases.
All parts of Celery can be used in cooking. Leafy stalks and root vegetables are consumed by “raw eaters.” Celery is added to soups and salads, canned vegetables. Celery seeds are used in the preparation of pungent Celery salt.
Celery combines well with other spicy crops (pepper, turmeric, cilantro), vegetables (tomatoes, carrots), and fruits (pears, apples) in fresh vitamin salads.
Celery has limitations when used as food – for people with ulcers and gastritis, pregnancy, varicose veins, thrombophlebitis.
Putting Celery in water
Celery can be distilled in water in 2 ways.
- from the base of a clump of green plants.
- From root crops.
For propagation, use a cut-off base of petiole or leaf celery with a height of 2-2.4inch (5-6cm). It turns into a kind of garland. It is placed in a glass or tall special cuvette with water so that only the roots and base are in the water. A rooting agent or any other growth stimulant can be added to the water. The container is placed under light or lamp for additional illumination. Within a week, you will get fresh fragrant green plant branches. To burn the fruits of rhizomatous Celery instead of rosettes, use small stunted rhizomatous crops.
Take care of Celery on the windowsill
When sorting Celery, you need to monitor the freshness of the water and change the solution every 3-5 days. If necessary, add water to the container so that the bottom of the rosette touches the water slightly but does not sink into the water. With 1/3 of the roots in the water. 30-32 days later, the greens are ready for cutting.
Celery varieties suitable for planting in the windowsill
Varieties such as Brilliant, Giant Prague, Mentor, President, Diamante, etc.
More related information about growing Celery plants
Onion of the subfamily Onion is the most popular crop for winter windowsills. This unpretentious crop has a high wound biosynthetic capacity, meaning that it grows rapidly into green plants after feather cutting, and the resulting wounds do not decay.
Onion is native to Central Asia. Culturally, it has been used for over five thousand years. Onion was introduced to Europe through ancient Greece and Rome. Since about the sixth century, this culture has been widely spread in all countries and continents. Today, Onion is widely distributed in all regions, from the poles to the subtropics.
Onion contains many vitamins that are essential for northerners who are briefly cold in the summer and essential in the winter. The specific flavor and aroma of Onion hairs perfectly complement any dish.
Members of this subfamily have a flattened globular bulb (the shortened stem is called a stalk) covered with scales of different colors and shades, with a pungent specific Onion odor and a sharp, sweet taste. The outer scales are dry, and the inner ones are fleshy. The root system is taprooted. The leaves are tubular, less often linear-rhomboidal, glaucous green, and covered with waxy flowers.
Onion’s flower arrows are hollow, swollen, and fleshy. The flowers are plain, white-green, on long pedicels, clustered in umbels. The fruit is covered by a general sheath until maturity. The fruits are small, black, round, or angular. Onion flowers in June-August and ripens in August-September.
Useful properties of Onion
The chemical composition of Onion is very rich in minerals and organic matter, which determines its medicinal properties. The bulbs and feathers contain a large amount of vitamins. The specific pungent odor makes the essential oil of Onion contain sulfides and sulfur.
All parts of Onion are edible and have some medicinal value. Plant insecticides Onion have fungicidal and anthelmintic properties. They facilitate the strengthening of the immune system and normalize water and salt metabolism. In official pharmacology, it is prepared for use in medicines for the treatment of atherosclerosis, certain forms of hypertension, and other diseases, as well as for the treatment of diseases in women.
Onion can be used as an ingredient in food or for processing. He perfectly complements the taste, giving a spicy flavor to vegetable and meat dishes, salads, vinaigrettes. The green leaves (quilt) are used as a spicy and tasty snack, as well as an additive to soups, sauces, gravies, and meat products.
Putting Onion in water
For roasting, the bulbs of annual Onion are mainly used. The roots of the bulbs are trimmed to 1-2inch (2.5-5 cm) and placed in containers and test tubes. The solution was soaked to the bottom to start. 3-4 days later, the water was changed.
Care for Onion on the windowsill
Onion likes to exchange water solution systematically by spraying with clean water. When the feathers reach a height of 3-4inch (8-10cm), they can be cut off. The number of cuttings of feathers is limited, so put several small boxes with planting material on the bales at 7-10-15 days intervals.
Onion varieties suitable for planting on windowsills
Plant Yellow Onions, Bermuda Onions (Sweet Onion), Walla Walla Onions (Sweet Onions), Welsh Onions, Spanish Onions (Sweet Onions) Sturon, Pearl Onions. and other species of multiple bulbs to harvest green plants are more effective. In practice, any species and variety can be used for windowsill planting.
More related information about growing Onion plants
Garlic is a member of the subfamily Onion. It is popular with many people around the world. It is an indispensable addition to the table, especially in winter, when deficiencies of important vitamins are felt most strongly.
Garlic is native to Central Asia, where it grows widely in the wild. Garlic is grown in the mountainous regions of Asian republics – Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Afghanistan. As a pungent vegetable crop, it grows in the United States, Asia, Europe, and almost all regions of Russia.
Garlic is a perennial herb that belongs to the group of spicy flavored vegetables. Garlic has a reticulated root system. It has a short stalk (base) with scales in the axils that form bulbous cotyledons (Garlic valves) in its cavity. Each cotyledon is covered with hard, dry scales. The bulb itself is slightly flattened and angular. The color varies from white to purple. The bulbs are used for asexual reproduction.
Garlic leaves are narrow, lance-shaped, elongated, entire, and green. The young ones are very delicate and have a peculiar odor, with age, they become hard and grooved. The flowers are on long pedicels, ranging from white to light purple, gathered in simple umbels. After pollination, bulbs are formed and are used by the plant for self-propagation and reproduction.
The fruits are capsules. Garlic does not form seeds. There is a difference between Garlic in winter and spring. Both varieties can be used for bales, although only the winter Garlic variety is recommended. As a rule, for winter cultivation, choose whole Garlic heads that have already started to grow so that you can quickly get a clump of fragrant feathers.
Useful properties of Garlic
Garlic has a long list of health benefits, and for those who live in the north, these benefits are crucial in the winter, where the summer is short and cold. The special flavor and aroma of green Garlic feathers perfectly complement any dish.
Essential oils give Garlic its peculiar aroma. Garlic contains plant fungicides with antibiotic properties, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, antioxidants and anticoagulants, cellulose, polysaccharides.
The chemical and biochemical components of Garlic have positive effects on the human body, being an antibacterial, thrombotic, and cholesterol-lowering agent. Based on Garlic extract, many medical preparations of Garlic for medicinal purposes have been developed to treat intestinal atrophy, arteriosclerosis, cholecystitis, and hepatitis.
Garlic preparations help to destroy pathogenic flora, pests, and various infections in the human body. Garlic is useful and is used as food for all parts of the plant. In cooking, Garlic adds spice to the second course, sauces, salads. It is used in the preparation of sausages, pickles, etc.
Putting Garlic in water
Distill Garlic in water in the same way as Onion.
Take care of Garlic on the windowsill
Garlic needs systematic water replacement after 3-4 days. Spray the young growing leaves. Early cutting is preferred for Garlic. Older leaves are very tough and almost unusable for food. Due to the limited number of cut greens, place a few test tubes every 7-10 days for regrowth.
Garlic varieties suitable for windowsills
For winter cultivation of windowsill Garlic, it is best to use winter varieties German Porcelain Garlic, Northern White Garlic, Chesnok Red Garlic, Musik Garlic, Vietnamese Red Garlic, and Elephant Garlic.
More related information about growing Garlic plants
Perennial herbs for the windowsill
In short, you can grow some less used but certainly useful winter herbs: Basil, Marjoram, Mint (common, lemon balm, pepper), Oregano, Thyme, Estragon.
Basil, mint, and thyme have a typical delicate aroma. They are used in fresh salads, in the dressing of second courses. Mint, thyme, and Tarragon are good flavoring agents for tea and home beverages. marjoram and Oregano are indispensable additions to cooking, salads, pizza, sauces for favorite pasta (pasta).
More experienced gardeners grow lettuce leaves, radishes, mustard (leafy beets), and other vegetables, herb, and spice crops. It is practical to start a winter garden with a few familiar vegetable crops and gradually expand the list.
Planting perennial herbs
In a container, sow seeds or plant seedlings, trying to pick varieties with different leaf disc colors and the same requirements for light, soil moisture, and air temperature. It is more practical to transplant young bushes from the garden. 2-3 weeks later, young plants will decorate dishes and freshen the air in the kitchen with the aroma of fresh herbs. It is difficult to obtain greenery quickly after sowing. The resulting seedlings need to be replanted, which is an additional labor and time cost.
The following varieties can be used to grow perennial herbs on windowsills.
- Mint – Peppermint, Spearmint, Pineapple mint, Apple mint (Woolly mint), Pennyroyal, Ginger mint, Horsemint, Red Raripila mint.
- Basil – Cinnamon Basil, Dark Opal Basil, Holy Basil, Lemon Basil, Lime Basil, Spicy Bush Basil, Purple Ruffles Basil.
- Oregano – Marjoram, Syrian Oregano, Golden Oregano, Greek Oregano, Italian Oregano, Cuban Oregano, Mexican Oregano, Mexican Bush Oregano.
- Thyme – Common thyme, Lemon thyme, Woolly thyme, Creeping thyme, Wild thyme, Elfin thyme.
- Marjoram – The three main varieties are: Wild Marjoram, Sweet Marjoram (Oreganum Majorana), and Pot marjoram (Oreganum onites).
- Melissa (Lemon balm) – Citronella Lemon Balm, Quedlinburger Lemon Balm, Variegated Lemon Balm, Aurea Lemon Balm, Lemonella Lemon Balm.
Tarragon – There are two main species: Russian tarragon (Artemisia dracunculoides) and French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa).
It is not possible to list all the spices, herbs, spicy vegetables, and other crops that can be grown on a windowsill in the winter in one article. Interested parties can find more information on the pages of “Thumbgarden” and other websites.
These are some of the favorites for the winter garden. Growing them is not difficult. They require virtually no additional lighting, no special types of care, and always form enough green crops in winter conditions for dinner or holiday tables.
More related information about growing herbs plants