A Year Round
Windowsill Herb Garden

Location and Sunlight

Design and build a windowsill garden and consider…location, the amount of sunlight, wind exposure, water retention, securing the window boxes to prevent injury to pedestrians, and local bylaws or tenancy contracts.


The number one item to consider is location.


• Move your windowsill herb garden wherever you know it’s going to get daily attention.


The second item to take into account is sunlight.


• Are your herb plants getting the 6 – 8 hours of sunlight needed to grow strong, healthy plants?


• If not, move it where they will get at least 6, the bare minimum.


Buy Your Herbs at Richters


Wind and Water

Next, consideration is wind exposure to your windowsill herb garden.


• If the herbs are exposed to a great deal of wind it not only wicks moisture away quickly, but stresses the plants by removing heat too quickly.


This happened to my French marigolds plants when they were exposed to a great deal of wind. They wilted and died. I had to start all over again. Lesson learned.


Another, item to note is water retention.


• There are several ways to monitor moisture levels. Stick your finger in the soil, use a water stick monitor (sold at garden centers or garden catalogs), special pots made to monitor water levels built in, or water retention crystals combined with your soil mixture.

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Safety Concerns

Then, there’s safety if you’re using window boxes itself for your windowsill herb garden.


• Attach it with brackets or window box wired holders made to insert the window box


Lastly, we don’t want to hurt anyone or break any laws with our enthusiasm to grow herbs.


• Check your local bylaws or tenant contract if applicable to prevent disagreements.

Window Box Design
For Your Windowsill Herb Garden

Make your own window box or…buy one for your windowsill herb garden.


A windowsill herb garden can easily be made with a window box or several of them. I’ve included some ideas to build if your own if you’re crafty. Or just purchase some from your local garden center.


When you make it yourself you can add special details, therefore creating a one of a kind window box yourself or have a carpenter make one for you.

Finished box is 19 ½ x 9 x 6 ¼ inch. (488 x 228 x 170 mm).


• 40 x 2-mm galvanized twist nails
• drill and 1/16-in. (1.5 mm) twist bit
• 35 ½ x 7 ½ x ¾ in. (900 x 190 x 19 mm) radiata pine
• 82 x 1 ½ x ¾ in. (2100 x 42 x 19 mm) radiata pine
• external undercoat paint
• external gloss acrylic paint for top coat
• sandpaper, handsaw
• pencil, tape or square measure
• small paintbrush
• hammer, putty


1. Cut a piece of 7 ½ x ¾ in. (190 x 19 mm) pine into a 1 x 17 ¾ in. (450 mm) length for the base and 2 x 6 3/4in. (170 mm) lengths for the ends. Cut the 42 x 19 mm pine into 1 ½ x ¾ in. (4 x 488 mm) lengths. Sand all edges and corners.


2. Drill 3 holes in each of the end pieces 1 ¼ in. (30 mm) up from the bottom: two holes ½ in. (10 mm) in from each side and one in the center. Nail the ends to the base, one end at a time.


3. Position a 19 ¼-in. (488-mm) length on each side of the box, level with the tops of the ends. Drill 2 holes at each end of these lengths. Hammer in nails. Repeat on the other side. Position remaining 2 x 19 ¼-in. (488 –mm) lengths 1 ¼ in. (30 mm) below the top rung and repeat drilling and hammering.


4. Sand timber all over. Punch nail heads and putty over them. Seal with one coat of undercoat. Sand again. Apply tow topcoats of your chosen color. Allow each coat to dry before sanding. Sanding the final coat will give the box a rustic, distressed look. (Taken from The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs, Readers Digest Book, 2009)



See Growing Herbs Indoors for more ideas.

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