How to Grow Veggies in a Window Box: Introduction

Rows of fresh vegetables in garden.

I grew up on a farm. My family had 2 gardens: one for “regular” vegetables and one that had only corn and potatoes in it. I spent time every spring and summer when I was young helping my dad in our garden and my grandparents with theirs. I can still remember the smell of dirt on a cool summer morning and the crumble of healthy near black soil in my hands.

By the time I was a teenager, my desire to help out was losing steam. During my college summers, I rarely stepped foot in that freshly tilled soil, thinking that during my free time being with my friends was all that mattered.

Houseplant in terracotta pot.

As a young adult, my burgeoning love for houseplants led me to a new interest in growing plants for food. I was renting apartments though, and never thought I could try growing veggies. So I stuck with houseplants.

Whenever I dreamed of buying a house, I always imagined a big vegetable garden. I daydreamed each spring by looking through seed catalogs and reading gardening books. Irony of ironies, the house we ended up buying has a wooded area in the back yard which faces south and most of my yard is in shade for much of the day.

My deck gets as much sun as any other spot on my property, and we have window boxes all along the railing. This brought me back to an idea I first had several years ago, but never explored. Perhaps I could try growing vegetables in the window boxes instead of filling them only with flowers.

Open book in grass.

I began, as I always do for a new project, with research. What plants can grow in such a small area? What soil do I need to use? Will my decorative boxes still be pretty? What veggies do we actually eat? Where should I buy seeds? When do I plant them?

This series will answer those questions and more and show you exactly how you can grow some fresh veggies even if you only have one little windowsill that gets sun in your apartment.

Part 1 will cover background research such as how to determine plants that will work in your area, where to buy seeds, when you should plant them and what soil to use.

Part 2 will cover preparing your window box, how to plant the seeds, and how to integrate flowers to beautify your box.

Part 3 will cover how to care for your veggies and how to harvest them.