Window Box Herb Gardening

September 15, 2008 | Filed Under Fellow Bloggers, Garden, Guest Bloggers, Herbs, Parsley, The Perfect Pantry blog 

Please help me welcome this week’s guest blogger, Lydia of The Perfect Pantry.  Welcome Lydia and thanks so much for your help!



Orange Caper Gremolata

2008 © The Perfect Pantry – All Rights Reserved

While Paz has been recovering from surgery, she’s been dreaming about a garden in her window.

In the city, it’s a challenge to maintain any type of garden. The wind, heat, car exhaust, and even the noise test the resilience of the most hardy plants – and often test the patience of the gardener, too. But if your apartment has a sunny window sill, you can grow some of the same herbs I plant in my garden, indoors in pots, or outside in a window box.



2008 © The Perfect Pantry – All Rights Reserved

There are a few secrets to successful window sill gardening. Most important, choose herbs that don’t grow too wide or tall. Don’t overwater if your herbs are growing indoors; on the other hand, herbs growing in a box outside your window need frequent water, to compensate for evaporation from the wind. Most herbs benefit from frequent snipping, but never cut more than one-third of the foliage at a time.



2008 © The Perfect Pantry – All Rights Reserved

Chives, basil, parsley, rosemary and thyme are good choices. They’re easy to grow, and a small amount added to a recipe will have a big flavor impact. Paz can grow her favorite cilantro, too. Don’t forget about mint; invasive by nature, mint can only invade as far as the confines of your window box or flower pot, and no farther. You can try interesting varieties, like chocolate or pineapple mint. Nasturtiums, which you can start from seed, add color to your window garden, and to your salads.



2008 © The Perfect Pantry – All Rights Reserved

In my herb garden, flat-leaf parsley is definitely the star of the show this year. I started with nine plants, purchased from our local organic gardening center, and set in the ground in late May. After a slow first month, the parsley really took off. Now I’m harvesting every day, trying to keep up with the late-season growth spurt.

Paz, I know you’ll enjoy growing herbs (and maybe a few tomatoes and lettuce, too?) on your sunny window sill. Here are two of my favorite recipes for parsley, so be sure to plant some in your “herb garden”.


Orange-caper gremolata
A wonderful topping for salmon or halibut, and great on grilled steak, too. (Shown in the top photo.)

The Perfect Pantry


1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (start with a small bunch or handful)
1 clove garlic, minced
The zest of 1 small orange (grated on a fine grater or Microplane)
1/2 tsp capers, drained, roughly chopped
Coarse sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix to yield a rough paste. Can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days in a container with an air-tight lid.

Parsley-walnut pesto
A zestier alternative to basil pesto, this sauce pairs especially well with buckwheat noodles. Makes enough for 6 servings of pasta.

The Perfect Pantry

1 large clove of garlic
1/4 cup walnut pieces
2 cups parsley leaves
1 tsp lemon juice
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


In a food processor, chop garlic and walnuts to a fine grind. Add the parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and chop until the parsley is minced. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil, a bit at a time, until desired consistency is reached. (You might not end up using the whole 1/2 cup of oil; it’s up to you.) Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.











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14 Responses to “Window Box Herb Gardening”

  1. Hi Lydia: I’m soooooooo psyched about starting my own window herb garden, thanks to your post! I look forward to making gremolata with my own home grown herbs. :mrgreen:


  2. I think cooking is like magic when you have your own little herb garden. And you can grow so many herbs with out using to much space. The gremolata looks and sounds wonderful.

  3. What a great post from Lydia. I haven’t tried growing herbs inside, but I think if you have a very sunny window, that’s the most important thing. Hope to see photos of your herb garden soon!

  4. That Gremolata looks gorgeous! Herbs are so wonderful!



  5. Interesting! Where I live, only mint and coriander, and basil, grow. The other herbs are imported from cooler cities. We don’t find them in all the stores, though.

  6. I use similar ingredients to the parsley-walnut pesto processed with chicken broth into a sauce – fabulous on grilled or broiled chicken as well as pasta. It will be fun to try this version instead.
    I grow most of the herbs already, but have never been successful with Cilantro – any recommendations?

  7. Hi Pia: I can’t wait to have my own little magic. 😛

    Hi Kalyn: I look forward to starting my window garden and taking photos. 😀

    Hi Rosa: Yes, herbs ARE wonderful!

    Hi Sra: Mint, coriander and basil are wonderful herbs. Lucky you!

    Hi Terry: I’m interested in reading about any tips for growing cilantro.


  8. i am so proud to say, i have successfully grown one herb! one! haha! parsley at that:) not as good when i tried my luck on basil and thyme though:( great post lydia! hey what’s up paz?

  9. Hi Ces! I’m really impressed that you were able to grow parsley. I hope to follow in your footsteps. 😉


  10. a herb garden is one of our real indulgences. i haven’t met a herb i didn’t like. lovely post and pics, lydia.

  11. I am totally motivated, Lydia!!!
    Paz, I only have a small balcony also, but now imagaing to see some “invasive” mint and parsley by next summer 😀

  12. Beautiful herb photos!

    I cook all kinds of fish, often, and I think your suggestion of the gremolata on salmon or halibut would be perfect. Thanks for that!

  13. Hi Bee: I haven’t met an herb I haven’t liked, either. 😉

    Hi Gattina: Let’s DO IT!

    Hi Lori Lynn: I’ve made gremolata a few times for fish dish. It tasted really good. I can’t wait to try Lydia’s recipe (and grow my own herbs!).

    Lydia: Thanks again for being a guest blogger and your awesome post. I’m really excited about creating my own window garden.

    Paz xxoo

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