What if you had the option of picking your own herbs instead of buying them? You would grab it by both hands, won’t you? Most of us fancy having a kitchen garden and being able to pick up our own fruits of labor from it. However, the “no time” cliché comes in picture. Still, what if I say that at least one of your favorite herbs is not that hard to grow? Yes, coriander is easy to grow and doesn’t even need much tending as well. You can grow the plant for its leaves, known as cilantro, as well as seeds, called coriander. You can even garnish your soups, salads, and curries with cilantro. It looks extremely good with its strikingly green color and beautifully designated leaves. So what are you waiting for? Go on and explore the tips on how to grow coriander.
- Choose a site where there is plenty of sun. Coriander can be grown in any pH soil and is very adaptable to every environment. However, it is always better to sow it in late April to early May, to ensure plenty of sun. This time period will also promote more successful germination. Even if you want to grow the plant indoors, position it on the windowsill, to ensure enough light. A minimum of four hours of sunshine is necessary for its proper growth.
- Plant coriander in the location where you want to grow it eventually, as transplanting it can cause bolting (i.e. sending up a flower stalk). This is because coriander quickly develops a long tapering root, which doesn’t respond well to transplantation. The soil in which you want to plant coriander should be well aerated and drained. If you are planting coriander in a pot, make sure that it has sufficient drainage-aiding materials.
- Sow seeds in 1 cm deep holes and cover them with soil and compost. They should be sown in a row, around four cm apart, and the space between the rows should be at least 35 cm. When the seedlings are about 4 to 5 cm, you can thin them down to about 20 cm apart. However if you want a continuous crop, you need to sow them every few weeks, to ensure sustained crop throughout the season.
- You can apply a liquid fertilizer to the soil, every few weeks, to promote the growth. If you stay in a place where there is too much temperature fluctuation, you can plant coriander in a glass house. Water the plant every morning. However, never ever over-water it, as coriander doesn’t like its roots to stand in water.
- The best part about cilantro is that as it is a Mediterranean plant, you don’t have to tend it a lot. However, it doesn’t like very hot weather, so keep it out for morning and late afternoon sun, but put it in shade for extremely hot time of the day, like noon or afternoon. In addition, coriander is not very competitive, so planting it with other plants is completely okay.
- You can start the harvesting process after the plant has reached a height of 10 cm. Pick out the big leaves, as it will encourage further growth. If you just want the leaves, you can pick them out with roots, as coriander is an annual plant. However, if you want the seeds, wait until the seeds have started to ripen. Now, cut the whole plants, from the base, and hang them upside down, for drying.