As winter drags on, here’s a great project to keep gardeners going during the cold months. There’s a lot of fun to be had planting herbs in a container on the windowsill. They will thrive there, can be put out in the garden when things warm up and can be returned for the winter when the cold arrives.

It's easy to grow herbs on the windowsill. It's easy to grow herbs on the windowsill.

I like to use long, rectangular plastic containers (that look like faux terra cotta) with matching trays underneath to catch excess water. They fit perfectly on my windowsill. Choose a planter with drainage holes, or one where holes can be drilled.

It’s important to use a commercial planting mix for the herbs, not potting soil or garden dirt. Just before adding the plants, combine the mix and some water until it's the right consistency. It shouldn't be dripping wet, but just wet enough so it sticks together.

Fill the container with the moist planting mix, leaving about a half inch of room at the top for any overflow when watering.

Visit a good garden center, greenhouse or nursery to pick out your favorite herbs. The planter I made was filled with chocolate mint, a curry plant, cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary and something new to me, an olive plant (Santolina viridis). It smells and tastes like olives, and I can’t wait to play around with it in the kitchen.

Before planting, check to see whether the herbs are root-bound. If so, gently tease the roots apart.

It's easy to grow herbs on the windowsill. It's easy to grow herbs on the windowsill.

After they are in place, give the plants some more water and find a bright window where they can live until May. Fertilize every two weeks starting in March to make them thrive, and keep the soil moist but allow the mix to dry out a bit before watering. Most indoor plants are killed by kindness and these herbs don’t like wet feet.

After the last frost, find a spot out in the garden with morning sun and, if possible, afternoon shade, which will cut down on the watering.

Keep the plants watered and fertilized through the summer. In September, bring the planter back inside to enjoy herbs again all winter.

I love having herbs growing indoors during these cold gray days. It’s great to have them to harvest in the kitchen and remind me that spring is just around the corner.

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