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Grow vegetables indoors over winter

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During winter it's hard to grow your own veggies without them freezing to death. We still want our fresh vegetables but don't have a glass house to put them in, so I decided to build myself an indoor window box.

What you need:

Square section tin spouting
Untreated wood about 20mm thick
Sealant
Wood screws
Rubber feet
 
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Step 1: Materials

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I went along to a local building supply recycler and found a length of tin spouting. The spouting was about 130mm square, 1800mm long and made from colour steel which is tin with a baked on colour coating. The spouting cost me NZ $8.00.

After a look thru my wood pile I found some untreated 150x150x20mm timber for the ends of my window box.

Step 2: Assembly

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Measure the inside of the spouting, across the bottom and up the sides.
Mark and cut two pieces of your untreated wood so they fit snugly in the ends of the spouting.

Pre-drill the spouting about 10mm in from the edge and put a bead of sealant along the edge. The sealant is simply to stop water leaking out around the ends onto my window sills.

Use wood screws to secure the ends of your window box on.

I used four self adhesive rubber feet on the bottom of the window box so the screws on the bottom dont scratch the window sill.

Step 3: All done

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Now its time to fill your window box with soil and plant some vegetables. I put my window box in a nice sunny window, after a few days I could see the lettuces had grown!!

Happy growing.
mwhite302 years ago
Brilliant idea. I had a similar one for work as a way of inspiring staff to make their own lunches and grab herbs and salads from the windowsill garden. We haven't done it yet, but this certainly gives inspiration.... thank you, I'll pass it on in my Facebook page.

Kind regards
Mal
croemita4 years ago
what do you do about drainage issues? This seems to be the perpetual problem with indoor gardening.
tokala (author)  croemita2 years ago
We just dont over water it. Just enough water to keep it damp but not moist enough for bugs to populate.
This build looks more like a box than something I'd depend on to really hold water, especially if I'm picking it up as a second-hand gutter. (Ever seen someone throw away a gutter that was perfectly leak free?) I'd seal it and then line it with plastic. Another alternative is to use PVC with holes where you want the plants or cut lengthwise into two long troughs. That way you have caps and sealant easily available.

Additionally, this needs to be in a South-Facing window with zero shade from neighbors or trees.
frogmama4 years ago
I made one of these last year just out of an aluminum gutter - I put gravel on the bottom of the gutter and used straws as "vents"...  details here on my blog

Isn't it nice to have fresh veggies growing in the winter?!  Late last winter I grew peas just to enjoy watching something GROW in the winter. 

Don't you have to worry about bugs. I tried growing inside once and had a bunch of little flies/bugs. not to sure what they are, but was a real nusince. Any ideas.
Sometimes. If you use good-quality planting soil it isn't bad. I don't think I've gotten bugs with this planter, but I've had it in storage outside for a while while I am working on other projects. Usually you get bugs when your soil or plants are contaminated with aphid eggs. I also had trouble with them when I lived in an old apartment from them coming from the next-door apartment, presumably.

I think the biggest problem with any indoor flowering plant/vegetable is cross-polination. I made a point to shuffle the plants with my hands when they were flowering to hopefully help in that. (or use a paintbrush) It's not really sturdy enough (at least mine, at nearly 5 feet) to carry outside for the day, but you could try that or simply take the screen off the window for a few hours. Just make sure you have a fly swatter around!
dkiehl frogmama2 years ago
You can also buy a spray from a gardening center usually called blossom set.
then give the flowers a spritz ( follow directions on product ) Note: Fruit / veggies will be seedless! Great for tomatoes used for juice or sauce
Did you purchase your soil or did you use soil obtained from outdoors?
To catch the little buggers find a bottle or use an empty plastic soda bottle ( clear is best so you can see how many you trapped) and pour in some vinegar 2 tablespoons is enough but enough to cover the bottom is better. Roll a piece of paper to make a funnel so that you have a hole that is pencil diameter or smaller. ( top diameter the larger the better but large enough so that it will not fall into your bottle) Use tape to secure your funnel together and then tape the funnel to the top of the bottle. Set your trap near your soil.. Happy hunting
MrChuII2 years ago
Do the plants grow from just the light of the sun? If so what longitude do you live at? If not what sort of light do you use?
jrmurch3 years ago
What a great idea! I can make it whatever length I want, and it will fit right in the window sill! Thanks for sharing!
jpivot4 years ago
HELP! when ever I start seeds indoors they get all spindly and die, What am I doing wrong?
WILL62 jpivot4 years ago

If you put your plants as close as possible to the light source,"GROW LIGHT" or shoplight, I mean 1/4" away that will help greatly...the shoplight won't give off any heat to hurt your little plants...grab it and find out, its cool to the touch barely warm, I let them touch the lights, also if you want strong stems turn a fan on low or medium and let it gently stir the stems in turn they will become strong and stocky....try it ok!

jpivot WILL624 years ago
awesome information, thank you! I will try all of your suggestions and let you know how I do
WILL62 jpivot4 years ago
How did your plants do this time, after putting them close to your grow lights?
jpivot WILL624 years ago
They did much better, I am actually eating the cucumbers as we speak! Thank you for your help it was much appreciated!
It mjay simply be too much heat.
Their probably either not getting enough light or else not enough water.
canida5 years ago
Fantastic use of space - looks like that bit of rain gutter fits perfectly on a windowsill!
tokala (author)  canida5 years ago
If you didn't have a garden of your own at your house you can use this method as well. Growing your own veggies saves heaps of money and they always taste better if you have grown them yourself!

...And if they are grown by you then you know they're fresh and clean.

pattyaitch4 years ago
I'm a bit leery of using treated lumber. Is that not poisoned? Otherwise a great idea.
the instructions specify "untreated" lumber
Soulis4 years ago
Great idea for sum but imbosible for me :( I think I have to move away from Finland :) then I can grow my own veggies in winter time...
mrfoltz Soulis4 years ago
I live in Canada… [Winnipeg to be exact and it gets really cold here] I just use pots with drainage on the bottoms and grow my own herbs like Thyme, Chives, Cherry Tomatoes <- hanging or upside down, and Oregano <-very easy... I'm still planning to experiment with other stuff like lettuce and small peppers. The most important thing is to have a really good sunny window, also just a cheap normal florescent garage light. You get the exact same result as an expensive grow light-but keep it close to the plants for extra warmth and longer daylight [at least 10 hours a day of real and fake light combined]. Also caulk your windows really well to prevent drafts and to keep them warmer!  A shelf by the window is best instead of on the window well. Hope this helps...  But i really like the design up above, maybe I can get more plants in this way???
Soulis mrfoltz4 years ago
realy thanks. it sounds so good that i have to test it... thanks again :D
mrfoltz Soulis4 years ago
No problem, I remembered something else, if you have any windows with electric head or radiators below them, this would be a good place to grow and keep the soil warm...
Johenix4 years ago
Better than a rain gutter, go to a DIY lumber yard or paint & wallpaper store and ask about disposable plastic wallpaper pasting pans. Cheap durable and no leakage problem.
manicmonday4 years ago
Thanks for the great idea. I have a tweak that could make it better.

Container plantings do best with drainage. If you were to raise the gutter garden a little, and drill holes in the bottom, you could put cups or something to catch the runnoff. You would want to put a circle of sealant around the holes so that the water would drip straight into your cup, and not run down the gutter..
or add another layer of gutter below, maybe filled with round pebbles which absorb some of the moisture for a more consistent humidity level. 
judyspak4 years ago
 If you enjoyed this, check out windowfarms.org.
ChrysN5 years ago
Cool, window lettuce! Have you tried other veggies, I think there are some varieties of carrots (Thumbelina I think its called) that you can grow in containers.
tokala (author)  ChrysN5 years ago
I have got spinach planted as well but I haven't tried carrots yet. I will have to have a look for them next time I'm in the plant shop. Thanks Lettuce, spinach etc are good cause you can pick the leaves off them without pulling the whole plant and they keep on growing.
ChrysN tokala5 years ago
Yes, that's the great thing about lettuce.
You can do that with Mustard Greens too.
canida ChrysN5 years ago
Would work nicely for herbs, too.
Mustard Greens are fairly hardy, and they make a wonderful addition to a sandwich where you might otherwise use yellow mustard or horseradish.
welshwaters5 years ago
I replicated it for the outside of my house and it really works well. Well done! and Thank you for such a great idea!
tokala (author)  welshwaters5 years ago
Thanks. Its good to hear someone used the idea.
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