Thursday, 7 August 2008

Window Boxes - What a Good Idea!


Window boxes are great. You don't only have to use them for flowers but can grow herbs and small vegetable in them. They are fun to have for all the family and just use up vacant space on a windowsill with minimum maintenance involved.

All window boxes are available in a variety of materials including wood, plastic, metal, terracotta. Wooden flower boxes provide better insulation than plastic or metal. It is best to avoid wood preservatives, namely creosote.

A list of different materials used for window boxes are given here:

Plastic pots are cheap, light, quite durable and they keep the soil moist. the disadvantage is that they turn brittle and crack with age and they look like plastic so the attractiveness is lacking.

Terracotta boxes are made from baked clay and are very attractive however, they are heavy, break easily and are subject to frost damage.

Glass fibre box containers can be moulded and coloured in many ways. They have very convincing stone looks but much lighter and stronger. The price might put you off though as they are more expensive than other many other materials.

Reconstituted stone boxes are are crushed stone moulded into box shapes. Yo can get imitation classical urns and vases which look attractive but not very practical in many cases. They are also very heavy. With the weight factor in mind you might want to restrict their use solely to roof gardens or balconies, not window ledges.

Tips to setting up and maintaining your Window Box

As a rule the proposed window box should be at least 20 cm deep to allow for root growth and this will ensure the soil doesn't dry out too quickly.

Pots can be put inside the window boxes instead of filling the box with soil. This is a good option as it allows you to lift them out and change them around without disturbing the plant roots. Another added bonus is that it also makes the the weight of the window box lighter.

Make sure the pots have drainage holes before you place them into the window box the plants will become waterlogged otherwise.

Watering will be needed every day in the summer, sometime even twice a day for the smaller boxes. Try to keep the soil damp but never standing in water, the plants will just rot otherwise.

Choose your plants carefully, low growing plants will give you good light from your window. Climbers are something you might want to consider as they can be trained against the wall around the window not affecting the amount of light you will get.

If the window box is situated in an exposed location to the elements, make sure it's secured with decent brackets or wire. High winds can damage poorly secured boxes and this can spell danger!

Ever thought of using women's pantie liners to line the bottom of hanging baskets? This works just as well as expensive gel crystals you buy in the shop. You might also consider using babies disposable nappies which again work really efficiently.

Teabags have their uses in window boxes as well. If you place a teabags over each of the drainage holes the water can still seep through but also acts as a barrier to insects creeping in!

Use waste products as liners for window boxes, this will cost you nothing. Wholesale boxes of apples or pears come with perfect lining material and when soaked in water for an hour or two this will mould perfectly into you own window box. And all for the price of asking at your local market stall that sells apples or pears and not least environmentally friendly.

And Finally

Window boxes may be a good hobby for you to taker up, it is environmentally friendly, cheap, productive and the activity helps relieve stress. What more could you ask for?

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