Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Planting the Window Boxes I May 18, 2009

Filed under: Accessories,Flower,Info,Review,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 12:54 pm
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The Marigold JungleThe story so far… having agonised about when and what to plant in my six window boxes, I’d finally taken the plunge and removed all the old plants, cleaned the boxes and refilled them with some good drainage material and soil.

As nice as these look on a window ledge it seemed a better idea to actually fill them with something!

Some general principles first from my own experiences:

  • Clear a good sized space (a kitchen table is ideal) and cover it with newspaper or some other throw-away material. You’ll be so glad at the end of a messy planting session if you can largely just fold the mess up and place it in a handy bin.
  • No matter how well you cover everything you will still make a mess in an area about 50% bigger than you’ve covered. A broom, brush and dustpan are always handy.
  • Gather together the tools you’ll need for the job before you start. In my case this meant getting the box for mixing soil, the soil itself, fertiliser and vermiculite all handily arranged closely enough that I could trip over them and spill them with an errant elbow. A plastic trowel and hand fork thing (I have no idea about the right names for things) are required as is a couple of spare pots the same size as this you will be taking the plants from.
  • Plants can be lined up on bunkers nearby – edges of tables are an accident waiting to happen and no-one wants to see plants that have been raised from seed, with months of tender loving care, ending up in a splash of soil on the floor. Putting them on the floor isn’t such a bad idea either so long as you remember where your feet are.
  • You will definitely forget something – just hope that it isn’t something that needs to be bought. An inventory is a good idea but even this will likely fail you. Try months of thinking about it, which surprisingly, is quite effective. This might lead to the alternative problem though which is to have about 30 litres extra soil lying around the house after finishing.
  • If at all possible I would recommend spending weeks of idle time inventing new and different ways to work out your planting scheme. At the last minute you should throw all these plans away and go “with gut instinct” – despite having no idea of what you are doing. For once I actually resisted this temptation and if I have the courage I’ll post a picture of my method of planting.
  • Do an inventory of everything you are going to plant. This was a serious help to me and stopped me trying to plant 15 geraniums when I only had 10. Apparently that’s not possible.
  • Give yourself some time to do it all, there’s no joy in rushing it. As I was taking pictures of every step it took a lot longer but in all the six boxes took a four or five hours to plant. There might have been some cups of tea and biscuits in there but then that’s important ‘reflection time’ isn’t it?
  • Finally, a good pair of gloves are really worthwhile. No one wants to finish up by spending another hour trying to remove dirt from fingernails and between toes – don’t ask. Shoes might be good too.

3 Responses to “Planting the Window Boxes I”

  1. Flighty Says:

    I read this through twice as I thought that there was something missing! I was right as that’s not a mention of the weather which must be most unusual for a gardening blog post!
    The tools you mention are a hand trowl and fork, which of course come in all designs and prices. I like the look of these ones!
    I’m glad to see that you included tea and biscuits which must be the most essential items!
    Thanks for a most enjoyable, and informative, post.

  2. Glo Says:

    Priceless! This had me chuckling away until I laughed out loud ~ what a picture you paint with your words! You left us hanging there with all the pots and plants just wondering what would be coming next.. “Taking pictures of every step it took a lot longer”, really got me going. You finished the job in record time, if you ask me. But…but…now what are you going to spend your time doing….?

  3. Flighty – yes, for once no moaning from me about the weather. It helps to be able to do it all indoors sometimes! That gardening set is cute but I’d lose them for sure.

    Glo, you’re right. It’s the end of an era. It’ll take me a fortnight of blogging to catch up on everything though, then I’ll be moaning about what the wind has done to all my hours of planning!

    Thanks as always for the comments.

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