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Home Vegetable Gardening – Growing Cilantro

A rose by any other name is still a rose, or so the saying goes, but cilantro by any other name could be called Chinese parsley or coriander. A quick search on some popular food recipe websites and in the matter of seconds I was able to find hundreds of recipes. Cilantro can be used three times, well sort of. You can harvest the leaves and add them to do your dish as an herb, or you can harvest the fruit also called coriander seeds which have a lemony-citrus flavor when crushed or you can harvest the roots which have an intense flavor and are most notably used in Asian cuisine. Which ever way you go, there is no doubting that cilantro should be part of your vegetable garden.

No need to worry about when to start your seeds indoors because cilantro won`t do well using this method. The reason being is that cilantro does not transplant well, so any growth you would have indoors would more than likely be lost once you moved it to the outdoors. Start your seeds outdoors at least one week beyond the final frost. You can then plant cilantro every 3 weeks up until a week prior to the first frost in the autumn months. This will give you a steady supply of cilantro throughout the year.

Cilantro seeds take about 10 days to germinate and grow well in full sun with a moderate watering in soil that has a pH level of at least 6.0 but not higher than 7.0. To test the pH level of your soil, grab a home soil testing kit from your local home or garden center for just a couple of bucks. Once you obtain your reading follow the instructions on the package to raise or lower your soil`s pH level as needed.

When the plant is eight inches tall it is ready to be harvested. You want to harvest the entire plant. If you want to use the seeds of the plant simply let it grow until it goes to seed then harvest the entire plant. Once the entire plant is harvested you can use the roots, leaves and seeds (if you let it grow that far) for a variety of dishes.

Avoid following carrots if you plan on putting your cilantro in a plant rotation cycle and avoid planting cilantro near fennel as the two plants do not make sure good companions, whereas tomatoes make for a great companion plant.

As you can see adding cilantro, Chinese parsley, coriander to your home vegetable garden is easier than you might think. Get some in your garden today.

Less Seeds, Less Space, More Crops in the Home Vegetable Garden

When was the last time you walked into your local grocery store or supermarket and headed directly for the produce section? Chances are it is every time you go right? As much as we, home vegetable gardeners, would love to grow everything we need to survive, there is always something that we will still need to pick up.

Let’s say that the item in question for our example here is black beauty eggplant. When you walked into the produce section to go pick some up, did you buy thirty of them at once? No of course you didn’t that would be ridiculous! I am going to get into a little technique in a moment that covers this, but for now understand that buying this many of one type of vegetable all at once is impractical.

Why then, on the back of most seed packets do you think they, the seed packagers, want you to plant all of the seeds at one time? An even better question is why they have you plant 3 to 4 seeds in one location and then thin out the pack so to speak. In other words, spread them out. Did you know some varieties of vegetable seeds come nearly 1000 to a pack? That is a whole lot of lettuce to grow at one time.

This method of gardening has been passed down from generation to generation and although it doesn’t make it wrong to still do, it creates more work for you then is necessary. Also, you grow more food than you need. Here are some tips you can implement in your home vegetable garden, to use less space, grow the right amount of food, and use less seeds.

Proper Rows
On the back of your zucchini packet it will say to space your zucchini out thirty-six inches. So how wide of a row do you think you will need? Thirty-six inches right? You can maximize your garden space by making rows the width of what you exactly need. If a plant calls for twelve inches, make your row twelve inches and not any more. The only space you will need in between the rows in your home vegetable garden should be the size it takes you to walk between them.

Proper Spacing
If you need a twelve inch row then the next plant of the same or even a different variety should be no closer than twelve inches correct? So make sure you space out your vegetables properly. If you need twelve, make it twelve, not sixteen or twenty. If you are doing that you are wasting space, and creating room for weeds to grow. Invest in a ruler or tape measure if you have to, but make sure you space those seeds out properly to use only the soil you actually need.

Stagger Your Seeds
Going back to our eggplant example, you do not buy all thirty of them at once so why would you plant all of the seeds at one time. Stagger your plantings of vegetables of the same variety. For example, I like to plant three rows of corn every 4 to 7 days (depending on the weather) so that I have a steady supply of corn throughout the growing season. I use this same technique for all of my other vegetables as well.

Using these three tips above will help you use less of your seeds at one time, utilize more of your ground, and create less work because you will minimize the amount of weeds your home vegetable garden will grow. Give them a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Spare Parts for the Home and Garden – Lawnmowers and Ride On Mowers Self Repair

REPAIR and DIY are scary concepts to many of us but with the world economy in a downturn it is a clear and obvious way to save a great deal of money.

The average labour bill from a garden tool repair workshop can be £30 HR plus call out plus spare parts and this can quickly add up to a large bill.

The best time to check your lawnmower for wear and tear is out of season when not in use (winter).

Think of your lawnmower as two units, the chassis and the engine (or electric motor), you need to keep and eye on both. Common engine faults often relate to the fuel and oil. Common chassis faults are often related to physical damage.

The lawnmower engine:

  • Always use clean fuel from a clean container – any dirt will break your engine
  • Always check your engine oil – it is quick and easy to check your dipstick to see the oil level is between the high and low marker lines
  • The lawnmower chassis:
  • The common parts are the blade, push handle, control cables and wheels.
  • Blade – this must be sharp to otherwise it will strain your engine and pull at the grass rather than making a clean cut. You can resharpen your blade with a file
  • Cables – you can squirt aerosol light oil like WD40 onto the cables to help them last longer.

What if i find something that is worn of broken?

1- Identify your lawnmower – what is the make and model of the Engine? (engine powered mowers only) – what is the make and model of the Lawnmower?

2- Identify the part as Chassis or Engine component

- the Engine will have its own unique identifying data plate showing model code and serial number. This is often stamped into the engine metal work.

- the Chassis will have its own unique identifying data plate showing model code and serial number. This is often on a silver badge or sticker near the rear wheel.

Common UK Lawnmower Brand Makes:

Mountfield, Honda, Qualcast, Flymo, Castel,Garden, MTD, Hayter, Atco, Bosch

Common Engine Brand Makes:

Briggs and Stratton, Honda, GGP, Sumec Linhai, Robin, Kawasaki, Kubota