Growing up in a house with a yard meant that there was room for a garden and we had a great one. Tomatoes, squash, beans, cukes, peas, radishes, onion, peppers, etc. and a nice group of concord grape vines. We canned what we could not use. It is one of the things that I miss most while living in a place without a yard or garden.

I make due with a CSA, but have been growing veggies and herbs at home for a few years with roof top Earthboxes for tomatoes and, since last year, in a rigged box for growing herbs in the only full sun area on the South exposure of our condo on a stubby windowsill.

With only a few inches of concrete, there was not enough space to lay down a window box without risking losing the whole thing on a moderately windy Chicago summer day. An alternative that I considered was drilling into the brickwork and putting in a railing to keep the box in — also not a reasonable option given my lack of masonry experience. An idea then came to me, I would drill holes into the sides of the window box and run a tension rod through the holes and wedge the tension rod into the window area.

Of course I could plant the herbs on the rooftop and let them grow like crazy, but if I need a sprig or two of thyme, I do not want to hustle up three flights of stairs. This way, I just walk to the window and get what I need.

This year, I planted French thyme, lemon thyme, tarragon, marjoram, and rosemary. Last year, with similar herbs, I had enough to last me from May until October without buying a single sprig.

I am pretty proud of my jury rigged flower box, it was a $4 solution that did not require the use of my masonry bit. I am even advocating that if you have no garden space and some tight South facing window space that you give it shot. Tell them I sent you.

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