GROWING CILANTRO AND CORIANDER OUTDOORS

Coriander is easy to grow and is best used fresh, and therefore is a very good choice for growing your own kitchen herbs. Especially if you like cooking, Asian or Latin food. Coriander finds several uses because both the leaves and seeds are used as food. The leaves of coriander are, called cilantro, can be chopped and used for garnishing or used while cooking in a variety of dishes including, rice, soups, salsa, and more.

To grow coriander, you need to provide the plant with a lot of sunshine as is the case usually when growing kitchen herbs though when the sun is at its peak; it prefers some shade. If the plant is not cared for well, it very often does not grow rich foliage and instead of flowers and produces seeds. So, if you are growing coriander for its leaves, you should keep the conditions right for its growth.

Coriander can be grown directly from its seeds by sowing them in the soil.

Cilantro is really easy to grow, fast growing, and does not require a lot of work. 

Growing Cilantro and Coriander in The Garden

Cilantro was one of the first herbs/spices grown by the early colonists in America. Growing a few feet of Cilantro in the Spring, and areas with milder winters as a fall and winter crop will provide plenty to eat, dry for later use and/or to let go to seed in hot weather to use as Coriander spice.

Cilantro As A Companion Plant

If you are a believer in companion planting Cilantro is said to:

  • be a good companion to anise, tomatoes, and peppers
  • be a bad companion plant for fennel
  • repel aphids, Colorado potato beetle, and spider mites
  • attracts bees when in bloom

When to Plant Cilantro

When to plant cilantro depends on the general climate condition in which you live and the specific average hardiness frost dates.  The general strategies vary somewhat depending upon whether you live in northern or southern regions of the United States.

In The Northern

Plant cilantro a two or three weeks before the last frost. To have a steady harvest throughout the summer, plant cilantro every couple of weeks until late autumn.

In the South

Plant in the beginning in early autumn to have a winter (until a killing frost sets in) and two or three weeks before the last frost for spring harvest.

Days to maturity

Cilantro takes about 30 to 40 days from planting to harvest as green herbs and 40 to 50 days for the seeds to be ready for harvesting as coriander.

WHAT ARE HERBS?

Herbs are one of the fascinating plant species on the planet. Humans have grown herbs for millennia and eaten herbs from the very beginning of time. They have added to our lives in several different ways. The humble little plants have been utilized in the following areas: flavoring food, medicinal remedies, fragrances, dyes, landscaping, pest control, and industrial uses. In recent years growing herbs has experienced a giant leap in popularity. One major factor is that they provide an attractive method of entry into the gardening fraternity because they are so easy to grow.

There are many plants that are included in the herb family. This causes a little bit of a challenge in defining members of the family. The strict botanist school definition of an herb is that it is a plant that does not form woody tissue. Ergo the name herbaceous to describe such a plant. Practical herb gardeners are a little more liberal in their definition of herbs and include plants with flowers, leaves, roots, stems, or fruits that provide any of the manifestations ascribed to herb plants. These qualities include ornamental, aromatic, medicinal, culinary, and household uses. Many plants with woody stems are included in the definition of herbs. Cultivated types (cultivators) such as thyme, lavender, and rosemary along with vines, trees, and shrubs are in there. Many cultivators are included in the legion of herb plants on the market today.

Under the right conditions, herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. They can do well in a wide range of growing conditions and soils, but the key factor is drainage. Herb plants do not like “wet feet,” and they must be planted in well-drained soil, or they will not live. Richer soils will cause   the plants to grow larger stems and roots rather than the oils which produce the desired flavors and aromas. When planning an herb garden, consider the native origins of the herbs to be included in the garden. Herbs originally from the Mediterranean Sea area will vary in their requirements from East Asia.

Annual Herbs

Annuals herbs are plants which go through their whole life cycle from seed to flower, and again to seed in one growing season.  Once this happens, the plant dies.  If you collect seeds, you can replant in the same year (e.g., spring and fall), or save and replant the following year. Common annual herbs are:

  1. Basil
  2. Cilantro
  3. Chervil
  4. Summer Savory

Biennials Herbs

Biennials are plants which require two years to complete their life cycle.  The top of the herb may die, but the herb will overwinter with proper protection in most areas, here are a few:

  1. Dill (this herb is a biennial but is normally grown as an annual.
  2. Parsley (often grown as an annual)
  3. Sage (hardy for longer in zones 5-8)
  4. Stevia

Perennials Herbs

Perennials herbs, if well cared for, can last for years in the correct climate conditions.  This makes them an excellent investment in both time and money. Of course, you may end up with more of them than you could possibly eat, which is the case with all the large rosemary bushes in my landscape. We use what we want, and the rest look good and attract pollinators.

In cooler climates, the plant to may die back in the winter  and will return in the following spring; assuming cold temperature do not exceed their tolerances.  Perennials herbs will continue growing through the winter if you live in some of the more temperate zones. Some common perennial herbs are:

  1. Bay leaves
  2. Chives
  3. Fennel
  4. Lavender
  5. Marjoram
  6. Mint
  7. Oregano
  8. Rosemary
  9. Tarragon
  10. Thyme
  11. Winter Savory

Related References

How To Grow Lima Beans

Lima beans are native to South and Central America and often grow best in temperatures from 15 to 20 degrees. In addition to being delicious and nutritious, lima beans are not challenging to grow. No matter if you are a beginner or not, it is simple to plant, take care, and harvest lima beans. Keep reading to learn how to grow lima beans and get the best results.

Choose lima bean seeds

Lima beans can be divided into two varieties: vine beans and bush beans, which are usually labeled indeterminate and determinate, respectively. They are annuals that only grow in a single season of the year. You can easily find the seeds at any garden supply or nursery store. Bush beans typically mature quickly and are called determinate since they yield all of the beans at the same time. The bushes can grow up to 30 to 90 cm in height. If you grow lima beans in a pot, it is better to go for bush varieties like Fordhook or Henderson. Vine beans grow more slowly, but they can produce more yield. Also, they can ensure diseases and pests better. With a height of around 2 to 4 meters, vines are ideal for small gardens.

Prepare the seedlings

After purchasing lima bean seeds, you should germinate them by wrapping in a wet paper towel and seal in an airtight bag. Wait for a few days before they sprout small roots and stems. If you are living in an area with short growing seasons, start bean seedlings in pots roughly 3 to 4 weeks before the final spring frost. Bury each seed under 1 to 2 inches of loose soil and keep them in a moist, warm environment. Consider using paper or biodegradable peat pots. Lima bean seedlings could be delicate and hard to transplant, so you should use one which you could directly plant to the ground. Avoid planting a plastic or clay pot because it would limit the growth of your plants.

Sow

Sow the seedlings or seeds in the mid-spring. Since Lima beans are native South and Central America, they often thrive in warm climates where the temperatures range from 15 to 20 degrees during the growing period. Start planting the seeds 2 to 4 weeks after the last spring frost when the weather gets warm. If you start them indoors, then just sow the seeds or seedlings. Avoid planting the seeds too early because they might rot in moist and cool soil. However, if you grow them too late, high temperatures might interfere with their growth.

Grow

Plant the lima beans 1 or 2 inches deep in the ground. Set bush varieties 4 to 6 inches apart, while vine beans will need a space of around 8 to 10 inches. Make sure the eye faces downward to the soil. In case you are growing multiple rows, keep in mind leave sufficient space, from 24 to 36 inches, between each row for unrestricted growth and easy access. The perfect site for growing lima beans is moderately fertile, well-drained, and sunny. Choose an area with acidic soil, with a pH of 6 to 6.8. Avoid planting in high-nitrogen soil or using a fertilizer which has been mixed with extra nitrogen, which can limit the growth of your beans. That’s why it is essential to test the soil for pH levels before starting.

Set up support structures

For vine varieties, you need to set up some support structures such as a trellis or a pole for them to reach the full growth potential. Make sure to build them as soon as you grow the seeds to avoid damaging their delicate roots. A metal or wooden pole should be at least 5 feet tall, and less than 1 inch in diameter. Also, you need to stake the support securely in the ground near the plant. When the beans grow, you will have to guide the vine patiently so that it starts to wrap around the structure.

Water regularly

Make sure the soil is always damp. However, avoid watering too frequently or heavily because it can drown your seedlings. Ideally, you should provide around 1 inch of water per week, from irrigation or rain, during the pod development and blossoming stages. Pour the water at the plants’ base rather than the top because mildew and disease could develop in wet foliage. To conserve moisture, especially during the summer, you can spread mulch at the base. This can also help prevent weeds.

Pest control

Inspect your lima beans regularly to look for signs of insects and bugs or their damage. If you see nonbeneficial bugs or their damage, try to identify the exact species so that you could find the best method to eliminate them. Some common types of pests on lima beans include mites, aphids, and flea beetles. In some cases, you can control the pests just by spraying with a water hose, which will knock them off the lima bean plants. But if it doesn’t work, you can use diatomaceous earth or insecticidal soap.

Harvest

Bush beans often mature in 60 to 70 days, while vines varieties can be harvested after 85 to 90 days of planting. At that time, the plants will flower, then the flowers die, and pods appear. You should harvest only when the pods are filled-out and bright green. Thus, make sure to be patient, but don’t wait too long because the beans would dry out, making them tough and inedible. You can test by gently tugging a pod. If the beans come off easily, then it is ready. Ideally, you can suck the beans out of the seed pods by pulling the string. Though this method can be time-consuming, it will ensure the quality of your beans.

Dry and store

Lima beans can be dried out for storage in the long term or prepared to cook immediately. In most cases, freshly-picked beans can last for around 2 weeks in the fridge. But you should blanch and freeze them first to ensure the overall quality and freshness. For long-term storage, consider shelling and drying the beans thoroughly. Keep them in a dry and cool airtight container that is carefully cleaned and sanitized so that they can last for around 8 to 10 months.

Related References

How to Grow Bush Beans

Bush beans are grown in gardens, commercial as well as domestic, since a long time as long as humans have started gardening. The main reason for growing bush beans in domestic gardens is that this wonderful food can be used as a good source of protein as well as green vegetable. The information provided in this write-up will help you to know how to grow bush beans in your garden.

Advantages and disadvantages of growing

Growing bush beans in your garden may have some advantages and disadvantages like:

Advantages

  • Generally, bush beans are easier to grow as they require less maintenance
  • Bush beans are self-supporting and space saving as they rarely grow more than exceed 24” in height
  • Bush beans will provide crop in bulk after a period of three to four weeks
  • Bush beans are popular more among those who can or freeze their beans
  • Bush beans can be grown as green manure

Disadvantages

  • They do not grow well if planted at the same location every year
  • You will have to change its location every time you grow them
  • Continuous picking can increase its yield to some extent but less than other varieties including pole beans

Planting Bush Beans

Normally beans including bush beans can be sown directly in the garden as well as indoor. Small bean plants sown indoor can be transplanted to the garden later on. The seeds of bush beans can be sown indoors from 10-24 days before planting them in the garden. They should be sowed in moderately hot weather temperature. If you want to sow their seeds directly in the garden, then they should be sowed in 3 feet apart rows and nearly one inch deep in the soil.

Growing Seedlings

When the seeds are sown indoor then well, grown-up seedlings can be planted in the garden in single or multiple wide rows. The distance between plants should be almost 4 to 6 inches. Densely sown seeds can also be thinned by transplanting them in the garden at a distance of nearly 4-6 inches away from each other. If you do not have space in the garden, then you can also cut some of the seedlings with scissors, without disturbing their roots, to thin the plantation of bush beans.

Transplanting Seedlings

The grown-up seedlings of bush beans can be transplanted into the garden when the temperature of the soil is sufficiently warm to encourage their growth at an outside location. The late spring can be the right time to transplant seedlings of bush beans.

Succession Planting

If you want to harvest the crop of bush beans for a longer time, then you should grow them in succession. Usually, bush beans start producing all at once. So to get them for a longer time you should plant them after every 2 weeks. It is known as Succession Planting of bush beans.

Insect and Pest Control

After planting bush beans, the first few weeks are very crucial to ensure the productivity and survival of their plants. Some time seeds of bush beans do not germinate due to various reasons including the coldness of soil, too deep sowing of seeds, seeds are old or damaged by pests, etc. In such condition you will have to observe the plants frequently, at least 2-3 times in a week, to find the signs of pests and insects as well as diseases.

The problem of insects and pests can be controlled without affecting the quality of the crop by rotting their plants if you grow these plants every year. Insects are more attracted to weak plants whereas healthy plants can tolerate the damage caused by the pests. You can also control the infestation of the insects and pests in your bush bean plants by inspecting them regularly and focusing on the damages caused by them like leaves damaged by insect-eating, discoloration of leaves, markings on fruit surface or dying-back tips of plants. You can easily prevent any damage to the quality of the fruit as well as the health of the plant by controlling the problem of pests and insect before they harm your plants or fruits.

Controlling Diseases and Problems

The yield of your bush bean plants can also be affected by various types of plant diseases. You can easily control the problems caused by diseases by:

  • Sowing certified and free-from-disease seeds, Planting the seedlings in well-drained soil in enough light.
  • Avoid splashing water on the foliage and
  • avoid overhead watering
  • Avoiding overcrowding plantation
  • Digging out dying or diseased plants and cleaning up the debris
  • Investigating the problems experienced by weak plants 
  • Avoiding planting or transplanting bush bean seedlings in infected areas

When Are Bush Beans Ready To Harvest Ripe?

As green beans:

Green beans of bush beans can be ready to harvest within 50 – 55 days of planting them. The time of maturity of the beans can depend upon the variety of seeds you have sown.

As dry beans

Dry beans or bush beans can be harvested when they grow up to full maturity. Normally, the pods of beans are considered to be fully matured when the leaves of the plants dry up and start falling. The size of the pod by the time of their full maturity can vary from 3-4 inch to 12-14 inch depending upon the season you have grown them or the variety of seeds used while sowing.

Harvesting

Green bush beans can be harvested nearly 50-80 days after planting them. The size of the beans at the time of harvesting them can vary according to their use. If you want to eat them as a green vegetable, then you should not allow them to become yellowish in color as it can reduce the yield of the plant along with affecting their taste. Green beans should be picked up frequently to maximize their output as well as quality.

Storing

If you want to store bush beans, then you remove their pods nearly ¼ inch above the fruit while harvesting them. While removing pods, you should be careful to damage the plant. They should not be crushed if you want to harvest the crop for a longer time. These pods can be dried to store for future use. You can also freeze or can bush bean t use them in the near future.

Related References

How To Grow Okra

Okra Pods On Plant
Okra Pods On Plant

Growing Okra

It is exciting to grow your own okra. The okra vegetable is delicious, and the plant produces the most gorgeous flowers. Planting okra in your garden is simple and will enhance its beauty exponentially.

Okra comes in many varieties. Okra pods can be green, red, pink, and white. They come in a plethora of lengths and shapes. Some are short and stout while others are long and spindly. The okra plant grows quite tall, usually between 4-6 feet, so make sure you allow adequate space in your garden.

Planting Okra

The okra plant takes on average 2 months to reach maturity. They need consistently warm days to thrive, which means in many climates they cannot be planted until mid-June. For the seeds to germinate, the soil needs to be at least 65F. It is best to start by planting okra seeds indoors to get a head start on the season.

Plant the okra seeds in containers filled with rich potting soil. Put seeds in 1/2-1 inch deep. Once the seedlings have grown at least 3 leaves and there is no more chance of frost, they can be transplanted outside. Space them out 2 feet from each other with 2-3 feet between the rows.

Okra Irrigation

Okra plants should be kept well watered for the best pod production. They are quite hardy, however, and will survive minor dry spells.

When To Harvest Okra

The pods are best harvested when they are 2-3 inches long, depending on the variety. If they grow too large, they will get tough and woody. When they reach that point, they are basically inedible. Cut the pods off with a knife or shears as the stems are very tough. It is also recommended to wear gloves when cutting off the pods as many okra varieties have little spines that can cause skin irritation. Harvest the pods continuously to keep the plant producing and thriving. Okra can be harvested every day in the height of the growing season. Remove and discard any that have grown too big so the plant can focus its energy on producing new growths.

Storage Of Okra

Okra stores well at room temperature for a few days. It can also be stored in the refrigerator. Okra pods keep well in the freezer which means this wonderful vegetable can be enjoyed year-round.

 

 

How To Grow Eggplant

Eggplant Fruit
Eggplant Fruit

Eggplant (solanum melongena) of the potato family, and native to India.  This plant  usually produces dark purple fruit, however, some other colors are available.

Eggplants are an excellent addition to any garden. The variety of colors and shapes make them a fun choice for the backyard gardening venture. Growing eggplant isn’t difficult. However, Eggplants have specific requirements and need a long, warm, growing season. New eggplant seed varieties are being developed that allow for a shorter season and colder climates, so if this is a concern, seek out those varieties.

Growing Eggplant from Seed

To start, if you are planting from seed, the soil temperature needs to be between 80 F-90 F. In most locations, this requires you start the seeds indoors for the eggplant to have enough time to reach maturity. A heating mat or grow light may be necessary to keep the soil temperature up. The seedlings can be planted outside when the daytime temperature is consistently between 70F-80F. Start the seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the ideal outside temperature is anticipated.

How To transplant Eggplant Seedlings

Plant seeds in the grow pots 1/4 – 1/2 inch deep. They will need 12-14 hours of light. This is another reason a grow light may be necessary. Keep the soil moist but not water-logged.

Transplanting Eggplant Seedlings

After there is no possibility of frost and the seedling have 3-4 leaves, they can be transplanted to the garden. Planting eggplant in the garden is simple. Place the seedlings 18-24 inches apart in rows 2-3 feet apart.

How to Irrigate Eggplant

Eggplant plants demand regular and deep watering. Inadequate watering can lead to fruit drop. The plants may need to be staked, depending on what variety is planted. Tie the plants up to the stake as they grow.

When To Harvest Eggplant

Eggplants can be harvested when they reach a third of their anticipated size for the variety. This is when eggplants taste the best. The fruit should be smooth, shiny, and firm to the touch. A good ripeness test is to lightly press a thumb into the fruit and see if it bounces back. The fruit is past prime if the indentation stays. Overripe eggplant is bitter, and its seeds are large and the fruit is woody. Keep a close eye on the plants as they reach maturity so the fruit can be picked at its height.

How to Harvest Eggplants

A knife or pruning shears will be needed to cut the thick stem of the fruit. Continuously harvesting the ripe eggplant will encourage the plant to produce more.

Storing Eggplants

Eggplant should be used soon after it is harvested. Eggplant does not keep well; if necessary, store it at room temperature for 1-2 days before cooking.

Growing the Kahari Melon

Kahari Melon
Kahari Melon

The melons are a rust or copper-red with stripes of in green and cream, making this an unusually and beautiful melon. The pale green flesh is sweet, aromatic and slightly musky in taste, similar to a honeydew melon.

Planting Instructions

  • Sow in place about two weeks after the last frost of spring.
  • Plant seed about one inch deep, 12 inches apart, in rows 5 feet apart.
  • Or plant in hills, 4-5 seeds per hill, with hills about 5 feet apart.
  • In a four by four foot raised bed, I usually, plant plant a hill in a short way from each corner and let them spill over the edges and pathways. So, an out of the way bed is recommended.
  • In short-season climates, grow trans- plants indoors, starting about 1 week before last frost date and set out about 2-3 weeks after sowing; never let transplants become root-bound in their container.
  • These Melons may be trellised, but larger fruit may need a cloth sling to support each fruit ant to prevent wind damage.

Gardeners Note:

  • You may want to consider succession planting these melons, so, that you get a new harvest every two to three weeks.  Otherwise, you may find with an oversupply when they start to produce and with will allow you to pull up any vine, which may succumb to pest and/or disease.

Kahari Melon Size

  • The vines produce an abundance of 2 to 4 pound fruit.

Kahari Melon Storage

  • The melon does not store long and, therefore, should be used as soon as possible upon harvesting.

Kahari Melon Uses

  • Eaten as fresh fruit or in fresh fruit salad
  • As fresh water (our favorite method) or mixed in a smoothie