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Make a Windowbox of Herbs and Lettuce

Growing herbs and salads in a windowbox provides a fresh supply close to the kitchen, and by making your own box, you can ensure it fits your space perfectly. All you need are some simple tools and a few basic carpentry skills.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
grow herbs and salad in windowbox close to kitchenDK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

When to Start: any time
At Its Best: spring or summer
Time to Complete: 4 hours

Materials Needed:

  • herbs and small lettuce plants
  • drill, saw and tape measure
  • 2" self-tapping screws
  • treated lumber
  • battens (about 1/2" thick)
  • copper anti-slug tape
  • 1/2" roofing tacks
  • compost

Measure Wood

Decide on the length of your windowbox and buy pieces of wood long enough to make two sides, two ends and a base, and mark them out.

measure wood for sides, ends and base of boxDK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Cut Into Lengths

Double-check the measurements and cut out the pieces. To create straight cuts and a neater finish, support both ends of the lumber as you saw.

make straight cuts on wood for windowbox piecesDK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Screw Sides Together

Use self-tapping screws to attach one side piece to an end piece; two screws should be enough. If the wood is hard, drill small pilot holes first. Repeat with the other side and end pieces. Screw the two sections together.

attach sides and ends of windowbox to baseDK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Attach Battens to Base

Attach the base by screwing it to both side and end pieces. Cut two battens to size, to fit the underside of the box. These will lift the base off the windowsill, allowing space for drainage. Turn the box upside down and attach the battens with short screws.

attach battens to underside of windowbox for liftDK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Drill Drainage Holes

Good drainage is essential for healthy plants. With the box still upside down, use a drill to make a 1/2" hole every 4 inches along the base of the trough. Take care not to damage the surface be-low.

drill drainage holes along base of windowboxDK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Fix Copper Tape

Attach a band of copper tape around the trough to deter snails and slugs, and to provide a decorative finish. Check that you have sufficient tape to wrap all the way around without leaving any gaps.

band of copper tape around box wil deter snailsDK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Nail Tape Securely

To keep the tape in place, hammer small tacks along it, at 4–6 inch intervals. Add more to make a feature of them, if desired. Make sure the tape seam is secure.

tack copper tape around window box to secureDK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Plant With Herbs and Salad Leaves

Fill the trough with compost and plant up with a range of herbs and a few young lettuce plants. Make sure none of them forms a bridge over the copper tape as they grow, which would enable snails to bypass the tape and climb in.

fill windowbox with herbs and young lettuce plantsDK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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