Tips For Kitchen Herb And Vegetable Gardens

Create a garden in just a sliver of space! You probably never realized you had room for a garden here: indoors on a windowsill with eastern or southern exposure. Check out our tips on creating both a windowsill herb garden and a windowsill vegetable garden, including more plants that grow well in a sunny window.

Tips For Kitchen Herb And Vegetable Gardens

How to Start a Windowsill Garden

Start a windowsill garden by taking cuttings from some of your favorite indoor and outdoor plants and rooting them in water. Use pruners or a sharp knife to cut a 3- or 4-inch stem; strip off the bottom leaves and place the cut stem in a small container of water. If you like, choose colorful containers and set them on a windowsill for a pretty effect.

Although it doesn’t suit every plant, rooting plants in water is the easiest propagation method. Change the water in the containers weekly because stale water turns cloudy and detracts from the attractiveness of the arrangement. More important, bacteria may develop and create an unhealthy medium for the plants.

Enjoy the cuttings during the winter months, then transplant them into containers and set them outdoors for the summer.

What to Know About Transplanting

Most plants thrive only a limited time without soil in which to spread their roots. When you transplant rooted cuttings into potting mix, remember that the roots they form in water are finer and more fragile than the ones they develop in soil. For at least a week after transplanting, keep the potting mix moist to avoid shocking the plants and to allow new roots a chance to grow. However, cuttings that are rooted in soil should be watered once when they’re placed in a pot of soil to begin developing, and not again until the soil is almost dry.

Herb Garden

Tips For Kitchen Herb And Vegetable Gardens

Start with the right container. If you choose a pot that is too small, your herbs won’t like it. Too big, and it won’t fit on a windowsill. Find a container about 4 inches deep and as wide as your sill will allow. Plenty of cute, clever containers can dress up your kitchen. (Be careful: Glazed ones may prevent evaporation, leading to soggy roots.) Consider painting terra-cotta pots with chalkboard paint, then writing the herb names on the sides. Another trick: Add stakes so you know what’s what. If you repurpose something else—say, a vintage tin—make sure it has a drainage hole and a saucer to catch excess water. That’s a must.

Next add herbs. Most herbs are super easy to start. You can cut a branch from an outside plant and stick it in potting soil. You can buy seeds—although you’ll wait longer for finished herbs. Or you can purchase small seedlings.

Mix in a little sunshine. Outside, you have to carefully consider whether plants like sun or shade. Inside, with herbs, all you really need is a happy, healthy dose of sunshine from a windowsill (south-facing is best). Look for a spot with about six hours of good rays. You’ll also need soilless potting mix, and you may need to fertilize every other month.

Tips For Kitchen Herb And Vegetable Gardens

Vegetable Garden

Tips For Kitchen Herb And Vegetable Gardens

Vegetables require at least six hours of sun daily. You’ll need a few sunny windows or artificial lighting to do the trick.

Make decorative arrangements. Combine different crops in one container. Plant red- and green-leaf lettuce together, for example, or edge a container holding a patio tomato with leaf lettuce and radishes.

Fertilize vegetables every two weeks. Water to keep the soil evenly moist, especially when plants begin to flower and produce fruit. Help fruit production by lightly brushing plants with your hand to spread pollen as they bloom.

Grow these vegetables inside: bush beans, bush tomatoes, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, loose-leaf lettuce, patio tomatoes, peas, pole beans, radishes, scallions, and spinach.

More Great Plants for the Sill

Tips For Kitchen Herb And Vegetable Gardens

  • Angelwing Begonia
  • Hoya
  • Swedish Ivy
  • Wandering Jew
  • Purple Passion Plant
  • Coleus
  • Gardenia
  • Air Plants


Tips For Kitchen Herb And Vegetable Gardens



Citrus Herb Turkey Breast – Recipe

This easy  Citrus Herb Turkey Breast is juicy, delicious, and loaded with tantalizing flavors! Perfect for a smaller holiday gathering.  The turkey smells so good while cooking and when it comes out of the oven, your mouth will start watering. Promise.


  • 1 6 to 7 pound bone-in turkey breast, or 3 to 4 pound half-breast, skin intact
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp extra light olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Place quartered oranges and onion wedges on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Top with sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over turkey breast and sprinkle with chopped thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Rub into the skin.
  6. Place turkey breast into the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to 350F and cook an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until turkey reaches 165 degrees with an instant-read thermometer.
  8. Remove turkey from the oven and tent with foil for 20 minutes.
  9. Slice and serve.

Note: If the turkey skin isn’t as crisp as you like after cooking, place under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown and then tent with foil. Slice and serve.

The Characteristics Of Garden Thyme

Thyme is an evergreen herb with culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. The most common variety is Thymus vulgaris. Thyme is of the genus Thymus of the mint family (Lamiaceae), and a relative of the oregano genus Origanum.

The Characteristics Of Garden Thyme


Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing it was a source of courage. The spread of thyme throughout Europe was thought to be due to theRomans, as they used it to purify their rooms and to “give an aromatic flavour to cheese and liqueurs”. In the EuropeanMiddle Ages, the herb was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares. In this period, women also often gave knights and warriors gifts that included thyme leaves, as it was believed to bring courage to the bearer. Thyme was also used as incense and placed on coffinsduring funerals, as it was supposed to assure passage into the next life.

The name of the genus of fish Thymallus, first given to the grayling (T. thymallus described in the 1758 edition of Systema Naturae by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus) originates from the faint smell of the herb thyme, which emanates from the flesh.


Thyme is best cultivated in a hot, sunny location with well-drained soil. It is generally planted in the spring, and thereafter grows as a perennial. It can be propagated by seed, cuttings, or dividing rooted sections of the plant. It tolerates drought well. The plants can take deep freezes and are found growing wild on mountain highlands. Along the Italian Riviera, it is found from sea level up to 800 m.

Culinary use

In some Levantine countries, and Assyria, the condiment za’atar (Arabic for thyme) contains thyme as a vital ingredient. It is a common component of the bouquet garni, and of herbes de Provence.

Thyme is sold both fresh and dried. While summer-seasonal, fresh greenhouse thyme is often available year round. The fresh form is more flavourful, but also less convenient; storage life is rarely more than a week. Although the fresh form only lasts a week or two under refrigeration, it can last many months if carefully frozen.

Fresh thyme is commonly sold in bunches of sprigs. A sprig is a single stem snipped from the plant. It is composed of a woody stem with paired leaf or flower clusters (“leaves”) spaced 12 to 1″ apart. A recipe may measure thyme by the bunch (or fraction thereof), or by the sprig, or by the tablespoon or teaspoon. Dried thyme is widely used in Armenia in tisanes (called urc).

Depending on how it is used in a dish, the whole sprig may be used (e.g., in a bouquet garni), or the leaves removed and the stems discarded. Usually, when a recipe specifies “bunch” or “sprig”, it means the whole form; when it specifies spoons, it means the leaves. It is perfectly acceptable to substitute dried for whole thyme.

Leaves may be removed from stems either by scraping with the back of a knife, or by pulling through the fingers or tines of a fork.

Thyme retains its flavour on drying better than many other herbs. Substitution is often more complicated than that because recipes can specify sprigs, and sprigs can vary in yield of leaves.

The Characteristics Of Garden Thyme

Medicinal use

Oil of thyme, the essential oil of common thyme (Thymus vulgaris), contains 20–54% thymol. Thyme essential oil also contains a range of additional compounds, such as p-cymene, myrcene, borneol, and linalool. Thymol, an antiseptic, is an active ingredient in various commercially produced mouthwashes such as Listerine. Before the advent of modern antibiotics, oil of thyme was used to medicate bandages.[1] It has also been shown to be effective against various fungi that commonly infect toenails. Thymol can also be found as the active ingredient in some all-natural, alcohol-free hand sanitizers.

A tisane made by infusing the herb in water can be used for coughs and bronchitis.

The Characteristics Of Garden Thyme

Important species and cultivars

Thymus citriodorus – various lemon thymes, orange thymes, lime thyme Thymus herba-barona (caraway thyme) is used both as a culinary herb and a ground cover, and has a very strong caraway scent due to the chemical carvone. Thymus praecox (mother of thyme, wild thyme), is cultivated as an ornamental. Thymus pseudolanuginosus (woolly thyme) is not a culinary herb, but is grown as a ground cover. Thymus serpyllum (wild thyme, creeping thyme) is an important nectar source plant for honeybees. All thyme species are nectar sources, but wild thyme covers large areas of droughty, rocky soils in southern Europe (both Greece and Malta are especially famous for wild thyme honey) and North Africa, as well as in similar landscapes in the Berkshire and Catskill Mountains of the northeastern US. The lowest growing of the widely used thyme is good for walkways.It is also an important caterpillar food plant for large and common blue butterflies. Thymus vulgaris (common thyme, English thyme, summer thyme, winter thyme, French thyme,or garden thyme)is a commonly used culinary herb. It also has medicinal uses. Common thyme is a Mediterranean perennial which is best suited to well-drained soils and full sun.


The Characteristics Of Garden Thyme