News Treehugger Voices Tips and Tricks For Windowsill Growers Our resident garden designer dishes the dirt on growing food indoors. By Elizabeth Waddington Elizabeth Waddington Facebook LinkedIn Writer, Permaculture Designer, Sustainability Consultant University of St Andrews (MA) Elizabeth has worked since 2010 as a freelance writer and consultant covering gardening, permaculture, and sustainable living. She has also written a number of books and e-books on gardens and gardening. Learn about our editorial process Updated March 30, 2021 12:34PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Aleksandr Zubkov / Getty Images News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Even if you do not have the use of any outside space, there are still some clever ways to make the most of whatever inside space is available to you. On a sunny windowsill, you can grow a lot more than you might think possible. So let's scale things down here and talk about how you can maximize yield and grow successfully even when a windowsill is all you have. Stack Containers and Create Planting Towers First of all, try thinking vertically. Remember, you are not limited to the small space on the windowsill itself. You could also build up from this surface. Stacking small containers one on top of the other, with the largest at the base, and the smallest at the top is one simple way to increase growing area. (You can see some ideas here.) You can also create planting towers – which will allow you to grow plenty of lettuce, herbs, and other leafy crops. Create Shelving To Double or Even Triple Your Windowsill Space Make your own hanging shelves, or check Etsy for a handmade set like these. ScullyWoodWorks / Etsy If you don't mind losing some of the view from a particular window, you can create some simple shelves for a window space in a range of different ways, very affordably and without making any permanent changes to the window. You can simply use a plank of reclaimed wood, supported on bricks, blocks, or other reclaimed items to double your windowsill space. Depending on the height of the window, you might even be able to create another shelf above that one. You can also consider using a system of hanging shelves. Just make sure that the windowsill is strong enough to support the weight, and that the structure is sturdy and will not come tumbling down. Think about the angle of the sunlight when setting shelf heights. And make sure new shelves do not shade lower plants too much. Make sure each pot or container has a tray or saucer to catch the drips. Use Silicon Hooks To Hang Small Containers If you do not want to block too much of your window, you could still consider hanging a few small pots higher up. Silicon hooks can be affixed onto the window itself, and can be strong enough to support a small container with a herb or some other leafy greens within it. The hooks themselves are not expensive, and you can make macrame supports for the pots as a fun craft project using natural twine or reclaimed fabric. Choose Plants Best Suited to Small Space Growing ronstik / Getty Images Many different plants that can be grown outside in a garden will also do fine indoors in containers. But if you only have a windowsill space and not much more, you need to be sensible about the plants you choose. Some plants will be better than others when it comes to making the most of a very small space. For beginners, I would recommend different types of lettuce, mizuna, mibuna, cress, brassicas (for micro-greens), pea shoots, spring onions, and a range of herbs. These all take up very little space and are easy to grow even when you have not done much gardening before. Hang Small Containers From a Curtain Rod A window in a room which does not require the curtains to be closed also offers further opportunities. Small containers can be strung along a curtain rod or curtain pole. Milk containers with plastic handles can be strung along a bamboo cane or branch, which can hang suspended from a curtain rod or pole. Other containers can simply be hung from wire or natural twine, either on their own, or strung along like bunting. Again, just use common sense and make sure that the curtain rod or pole is strong enough to hold the weight. Reflect Light With Mirrors or Foil If you double stack plants on a wider windowsill, those further inside may not get quite enough light. One simple trick which might help is to place mirrors or foil strategically to reflect light back towards these plants. Placing mirrors or foil can also help avoid the problem of seedlings leaning towards the light. You might not need to turn your trays and containers so frequently. Choose Cut-And-Come-Again Options And Succession Sow You could also use your windowsill to regrow vegetables from scraps. Mehriban Aliyeva / Getty Images Remember, when you have little space available, you need to make the most not just of the physical space but also of time. Choosing cut-and-come-again lettuce and other leafy greens is one good option, because you can harvest leaves and more will grow back. But remember that you should always succession sow – keeping pots and containers in use and filling gaps whenever anything is harvested. These are just a few simple tips to help you maximize the potential of your small growing space – the main idea is to think about how to use available space in creative ways.