Indoor gardening for urban beginners

Hi all
I am completely new to gardening but would love to hear a few tips as to how to start growing a few things in pots.
We are absolutely keen to start growing some herbs and perhaps a chilli plant, but the problem is that we live in the heart of Birmingham in a new flat. There is no balcony and nowhere we could put window boxes (we tried!) or hanging baskets. We are on the waiting list for an allotment but this isn't coming any time soon!
We do however have two huge windows (with generous windowsills) that get the morning sunshine and light all day.
I would like to try growing some basic culinary herbs (rosemary, basil, coriander, thyme, parsley) and a chilli plant. I understand the herbs are straightforward to grow from seed in a pot indoors, but what about the chilli? Can we grow it from seed or buy a small plant and grow that?
Also, is there anything else we can feasibly grow indoors? Perhaps a flowering plant? We do already have some bog standard houseplants but would like to have a few more colorful additions!
If anyone has any ideas at all, I'd love to hear about them since we have no idea how to start our indoor garden!
Thank you!
--
Birmingham1981


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Birmingham1981 wrote:

Everyone likes tomato, they grow great indoors. Get one already started from your local garden center, put it in a bigger pot. I think you'll be happy. Tomato will self pollinate but I don't know about other plants.
Mysterious Traveler

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Chili you can grow from seed just fine, there are lots of varietes to chose from so you can pick the exact properties you want, just make sure you select the lifespan of the plant that you wish (many are bi-annuals), my chilies tend to prefer a tomato-nutrient but also thrives on a normal 4-1-3 nutrient

Depending on how much time and money you are willing to invest you can grow just about everything indoors. Thompson-Morgan has a good catalouge and they have lots of resellers across the globe (if you want to try more exotic plants I've found jungleseeds (www.jungleseeds.co.uk) to be a good source of seeds).
If you want a somewhat fast climber that flowers try beans (peas, soy and so on) (just remember that it will need something to climb on)

And a few more pointers, in case you get insects on your plants there are many options, when all else fail try a neonicotoid (it is just about the only thing that kills thrips, but is overkill in many other cases) such Imidacloprid (found in Bayer Garden's "Provado" among others)
Garland Gardens are a manufacturer that makes quite excellent gardening-trays (and other items in plastic) if you want to scale up in number of plants. These trays also are wonderful to have as a "repotting station" since it provides a portable workspace with high border, thusly reduces the need for vacuuming up soil after a repotting.
Do consider using sqaure pots, they allow more plants in a smaller space, also tends to fit better on windowsills when the plants get large (I prefer TECU since their pots are of a thicker and sturdy plastic (roughly the same as normal round pots have (most square pots are flimsy)).
Also, for a soilamendment (or if you want to try soilless) LECA is worth looking into, it is both found in gardenstores (smaller sizes, expensive) or in builders stores (bigger sizes, cheap (it is an architectural material and used for insulation of chimneys)).
Most plants prefer to get misted every now and then (indoors are extremly dry air).
Since I live in sweden I can't really point to specific stores, but I have noticed that most of the seeds and equipment I buy are from UK companies :)
Might have been a bit verbosive, but I remember the frustration of trying to find this out myself.
Good luck with the gardening /Aiwendil -- "Quite frankly, I don't like you humans. After what you all have done, I find being 'inhuman' a compliment." -- Spider Robinson, "Callahan's Secret"
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Really it's a bit of a hard ask to expect culinary plants to grow indoors and especially rosemary. My advice would be to get some 'indoor' plants (and no plant was every really an indoor plant anyway) and learn on them about watering regimes and light etc and especially since you are about to go into winter - that is not a good time to try and grow any plants from scratch because the light levels are so different from summer.
The reason why I say this is that if you new to gardening then you are starting from a low base of knowledge and even the plants that will live reasonably well indoors will teach you some valuable lessons. Once you get your allotment, you will have a much better chance of having healthy and productive culinary plants and won't be discouraged from having your plants die on you.
If you really must have a go, try some coriander as it germinates easily from seed, prefers to grow in the cooler weather and you might even get it to produce enough leaves to add to some Thai style soup.
Sorry to pour cold water on your enthusiasm, but you could always spend the time doing what most of us gardeners do in winter and that is to become an armchair gardener and seed catalogues and lots of books on gardening. As the Army knows, time spent on reconnaisance is time well used.
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I don't know about the last sentence, but the rest of FarmI's recommendation seems quite sound. If you become a gardener, you will find that you take more of an interest in the success of your plants than you expected. If they are harmed, you will want to know who did it, and how do you can stop it from happening again.
You will kill many of your plants through stupidity. Learn from a forgiving plant, first.
--
³When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the
poor have no food, they call you a communist.²
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