Window Sill Gardening

I love my dome.  It is the coolest thing I think I have ever had built.  But I have a bit of a problem with it…  It is not ready.  The builder has done his amazing bit and created it.  He has even put in a concrete floor with a ramp, so I can get Wilbur the Wheelbarrow in easily if I need to.  There is also a drain, so I can hose it out if it gets mucky and a pipe, so I can pop a tap in there too.  I’m toying with the idea of putting a sink in there as well, so I can wash things.  But the initial thoughts for the tap was so I could irrigate the seedlings automatically as Hubby the Un-Gardener is making noises about wanting to go away for family time on his boat from time to time.

Greenhouse ramp
Good to see Wilbur the Wheelbarrow will have easy access to the dome

This is a bit of a conflict for me as, as much as I love family time and enjoy the boat – the boating season clashes dreadfully with the gardening season.  So, I have to find a way to ensure my garden is happy while I’m off on the water being happy.  I can’t really begrudge him and the boat.  He is as passionate about it as I am about my garden, and like the garden it resulted in a bit of a budget blowout while restoring it, so now I feel justified in having my budget blowout so long as it isn’t more than he spent, and we are still a country mile away from that!

These little holes in the floor of the dome mean so much to me… they represent water in and water out!

So, all that remains for the dome to be a sanctuary for my seedlings is glass and shelves.   The shelves aren’t too much of a problem – I could give it a crack, under the direction of my builder and I can get to use the drop saw I picked up at the op shop for $24.  We’ll soon see if it is up to scratch…  The glazing on the other hand is a specialist job.  And we’ve had folk around to give quotes and wait with bated breath.  One suggests a very good price but a terrible time line – I ideally would like it done yesterday, and we are still waiting to hear from others.  I have no idea how much it is going to cost, but I’m in too deep to back down now.

Concrete floor of the dome
And now the dome has a lovely concrete floor.

Having said that, I am close to just temporarily getting a roll or two of that plastic they use to wrap pallets and go around and around and around until it is water tight.   These are desperate times.   You see, the season has begun.  Seeds have been sown.  It has been a long time since I had to grow seedlings on windows.  In fact, the last place didn’t have adequate window sills which is why I jumped into the greenhouse journey early on.

Fennel the Cat
Fennel the Cat getting up close and personal with my seedlings

Like with the container gardening I have being doing while gardenless I have been humbled by how others garden when there is no other choice.  I really take my hat off to container gardeners, you need to hover over your plants like a helicopter parent and take care of their every need because they aren’t in a position to do it for themselves, being stuck in a pot!  Unless you grow in containers you really don’t know how needy plants can be.

Baby Chicken
Turducken the baby chicken learning how to be an outside chicken by hiding from the big chickens.

So now I am window sill seed raising.  The first and biggest problem is Fennel the Cat and Turducken the baby chicken who is in the process of being weaned to outdoor living.  I solved this problem by popping my seed trays into large clear plastic containers with lids.  So, it didn’t bother me too much to see Fennel sleeping on top.  It is the sunniest spot in the house after all.

Seedlings in the bay window
These plants have the best spot in the house – so long as they survive the cat!

This new house is blessed with fabulous bay windows and my seedlings are currently occupying the better part of the best one that gets east, north and west sun (when it is shining).  I thought ‘clever’ me.  I’ve sussed it and it will be fine.  But then it would seem the clear plastic wasn’t clear enough, and my tomatoes are erring on the side of leggy!  Argh.  This meant bringing the plants out as they germinate, into the full sun of the bay window and exposing them to the risk of cat or chicken damage.  I did have some under a laundry basket, but there are too many now.

Curtain barrier
If you were a cat would this look impenetrable?

I pulled the curtains and leaned things up against them to make it seem like an impenetrable barrier.  I think I can convince the chicken, but I still don’t trust the cat.  I’m also hoping the white lining of the curtain will bounce light back onto the plants as I’m currently turning the trays regularly to try to get strong stems, not leggy ones reaching off in one direction.  If things don’t improve soon I’m considering attaching tin foil to the back of the curtains….  That doesn’t seem too desperate does it?

Growing under cover
It would seem these clear plastic containers aren’t quite clear enough

My hat is now being taken off to all those keen gardeners who start their gardens on windowsills, you work so much harder to get healthy plants than those of us with the luxury of a greenhouse.

Leggy seedlings
Oh no leggy seedlings! the only saving grace is tomatoes can be planted deeper than normal.

And now I need to go and find the hanging basket system I got the boat builder to put a place for on the boat, so I can garden at sea…  well you have to have fresh parsley with fresh fish!

Seedlings in the bay window
They have the best of everything I can give them short of being in the dome.

Come again soon – the garden is becoming closer to being ready each day.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

14 thoughts on “Window Sill Gardening

  1. Yip, my greenhouse is just about finished, I just need a load of gravel for the floor. I have seedlings all over the house, trying to keep out of reach of dog and cat. I can’t wait to see your dome in its glazed glory, it’s going to be even more beautiful!

  2. I can so relate to that cat on the tray. I bought a portable green house last year and came home to find it under the neighbor’s tree. Too much wind here not sure what I will do next season.

    1. The portable greenhouses are nothing more than glorified kites if not secured. I started with a small 2 shelf greenhouse and every time they let me down I got something bigger and better. I think I have tried most options now! Glass seems to be the best option for longevity – having said that our UV is really strong and not good for plastic as it perishes easily. : o)

  3. Those containers are great – we use them too and pop them outside as much as we can, with the kids on if needed and taking them off if the weather is mild enough. The dome will be amazing!!!

  4. Welcome to the Windowsill Gardening Club! It is a little bit insane here, but we do what we have to while we await some sort of greenhouse option. And hope that maybe the insanity of hoards of trays of little plants sitting in the house induces our significant other to bust a move in making or acquiring us a greenhouse. 😉

    1. I really do prefer the greenhouse option. The seedlings just didn’t do as well as they have done in the past. But I do have a new found respect for those who’s only choice is the windowsill! : o)

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