Summer isn't the only time to eat a fresh caprese salad if you have the tools and knowledge to grow your own tomatoes and basil indoors. Building a window garden is simple and quick (no more than thirty minutes if you have the tools), and its usefulness is endless, but wouldn't it be nice if you only had to water your garden once a week instead of every other day? This tutorial will provide you with the knowledge of how to build your own low-maintenance window garden.
Step 1: Tools
This project requires a few items:
1. Pots (3 pots at $0.78/pot=$2.34)
2. Seeds (3 packets at $1.34/packet=$4.02)
3. Potting soil (One 4-quart bag at $2.00/bag)
4. String ($1.39)
5. A tray or plate that is non-permeable to hold the pots and water ($7.19)
I spent $16.94. Depending on how much you value aesthetics, you could spend more or less. For instance, you could use clean cottage cheese or yogurt containers with a hole in the bottom instead of a pot, or you could buy actual pot trays to match the pot instead of a plate. Three pot trays would be about half the price of the plate.
Step 2: Prepare String
Cut three pieces of string about a foot long. It doesn't need to be exact; you can eyeball it.
Step 3: Soak String
Soak the string in water so that the string is wet.
Step 4: Set String in Pot
Wrap the string around the bottom of the pot, then through the bottom hole. You can cover the string with the pot if you value aesthetics. The purpose of the string is to act as a siphon to pull up water from the tray and water your plants.
Step 5: Fill Pots With Potting Soil
Fill the pots with potting soil most of the way full. Keep in mind how deep the seed packets specify to plant the seeds. For instance, my basil and cilantro seeds should be planted about a quarter inch from the surface, while my oregano seeds should be planted just below the surface. In this case, I fill the basil and cilantro pots about a quarter inch less than the oregano pot.
Add water and mix until that the soil is evenly moist.
Step 6: Plant Seeds
Before planting, make a small depression in the middle of the pot. This will help the water collect in the center, where the seeds will be planted, so the seeds will collect and retain moisture.
Put a few seeds from each packet in the center of its own pot. Follow the directions on the seed packet to know how many seeds to plant. On some packets, directions will say to "sow seeds thinly." I interpret "thin" as about four seeds. If directions do not explicitly state how to plant the seeds, I plant no more than ten seeds.
Step 7: Cover Seeds
Cover the seeds with more soil, following the directions on the seed packet. If the packet says to cover the seeds with about a quarter inch of dirt, then do so.
Step 8: Water Soil
Water the soil so that it is moist but not soggy. Use your fingers to judge.
Step 9: Fill Tray
Fill the tray with water. Make sure the water level is above the bottom of the pots.
Step 10: A Few Last Tips
A few tips to remember are as follows:
1. Before seeds begin to sprout, cover the pots loosely with plastic wrap to retain moisture. Cover loosely so air can still get to the soil.
2. Keep the plants somewhere warm like above a refrigerator until seeds sprout. When they sprout, move the plants to your window sill where they will receive sunlight, and also remove the plastic wrap.
3. Remember to water the tray as needed to keep the water level above the bottom of the pots. Also occasionally monitor the surface of the soil to make sure it does not dry out.
Now that you have all the information to complete this project, you are ready to get your hands in the dirt and watch your handiwork grow. In a few weeks, you will have beautiful, delicious, free produce that you can enjoy at your own will. With the reduced watering time you acquired by following this Instructable, you can research more delightful ways to enjoy your crop. Of course in the future you can build as many gardens as you choose, and you can experiment with any seed that catches your eye. Thank you for reading this Instructable and good luck with your garden.