Want to grow Cilantro...need help!

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Joined Jan 11, 2002
After having posted under another thread, I got this idea from Marmalady since I love cooking Indian and here in Italy it's almost impossible to find fresh Cilantro (you must know that Indian groceries are pretty rare here...). I need more info about the best procedure to get my Cilantro Forest :) !

1)Can I use the "normal" dried Coriander seeds we find in our herbalist shops, or another variety is required?

2)Which is the best season to seed Coriander, which type of soil must I use, how much water does it need, and so on?

Thanks in advance!

Pongi
 
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That's what I did, Pongi. I simply planted some dried coriander seeds from a jar of spice that I had purchased. Boy oh boy, did I get a cilantro forest. It yielded enough seeds to last a few years and the leaves, indeed, tasted delicious.
 
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I've never planted just 'coriander' seeds; I buy cilantro seeds from seed catalogs. You can probably find sources online, if they'll ship to Italy. Cook's Garden is a good resource, they have the 'slow bolting' kind. (Because you want the leaves and not the seed!)

I sow about every two weeks right after the last frost, til it gets really hot (they don't like lots of hot sun and heat); water and feed like parsley, and when you harvest, you can just cut 'em back and they'll regrow. They'll probably bolt (go to seed) in the hot summer, but when it starts cooling down again in the evenings and night, try planting some more for a fall crop.
 
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Cool that you got 'em to grow, Koko - but to ensure yourself a good crop, I think it's probably best to order seed from a garden catalog. You don't know how old the seeds are, or how long they've been sitting on the shelf, and whether they've been heat treated or chemically treated for shelf life, or anything.

But, Hey, shows you were thinkin!
 
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Growing cilantro is kind of like growing danelions, get them started and get out of the way. I finally had to dig up a section of my forest, it just got too big. I used coriander seeds from the herb shop, and they did fantastic. They seemed to like well drained soil, but would grow anywhere. There's nothing like sitting in the garden munching on fresh cilantro and jalapenos.

FYI, the seed of the cilantro plant is coriander, so cilantro seeds and coriander are the same thing.
 
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Sorry Campchef, I have to stand behind my statement to buy seed from a garden center or seed suplier rather than an herb shop or the spice section of a grocery store. Unless you're buying organic seed, you have no idea of what's been sprayed on the seed to help preserve it and get rid of the bugs.

While Cilantro and coriander are indeed the same plant, there are varieties of the plant that have been developed to produce more leaves and which are slower to 'bolt' or go to seed, than the the regular 'coriander' seeds.

Planting your seed in two week successions should ensure that you don't end up with a half ton of it ready to be used at once!
 
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You are correct about the organic issue, but that's not something I've worried too greatly about in seed stock. Just my opinion. To each their own, if you do want to be sure of your seeds, the only way to be sure is to buy from a seed company.
 
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I agree that buying from a seed company is best. I'd bet the seed company's seeds are alot cheaper then buying then in the grocery store? I thought I'd mention a trick my hubby has to test out seeds. Instead of planting and waiting, just take a couple seeds and sprout them in a moist paper towel. It saves effort and alot of time when your not sure if your seeds are still good.

Cilantro is tricky because they bolt in heat like everyone says. Although it grows easily you have to manage it more then most plants and plant frequently for it to be a reliable source. I could never get it as thick as a bunch the store sells. It's hard to pick it young....you just keep thinking I'll give it a couple more days to get bigger, then when you go back to cut it, it's bolted.
 
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Wendy, The trick to getting a fuller cilantro plant is to pinch it back, just the way you would a house plant to make it fuller. As the plants grow, once they have a good base of about 4-6 leaf clumps going, start pinching off the new top growth (if you've planted enough, you should be able to get a good handful at least for a garnish). This will cause the plant to say, 'oh, I can't grow UP, but I want to live!!! So I'll grow out the sides'.

And look for the slow bolt cilantro - I've had great luck with it. Where you place it in the garden is tricky, too - too much sun and it burns and wilts and bolts really fast, too little causes it to get even more leggy. I found morning sun and afternoon shade are best for me.
 

isa

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It grows incredibly fast. I planted cilantro and thyme at the same time. The thyme is about an inch high and the cilantro is already 6 inches...
 
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Isa, - Time to start pinching that cilantro soon! It is amazing how fast it grows.

It's bigger than the thyme because cilantro is basically an upright plant, and most thyme species are either 'ground cover' which means they spread and throw roots out along the stems, or a 'bush' plant, short and shrubby.

What variety of thyme did you plant? I've seen so many varieties - the usual English and French, and then there's lime, lemon, coconut, and so many more!
 

isa

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I planted thymus vulgaris. It will be a few weeks before I can tel you how it taste. ;)


Pinch the cilantro while they are so young? There is only 2 leaves per plant. where should I pinch?
 
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Isa, marmalady gives excellent advice.

two week sowing intevals,
thin to 6 inches
mulch in the growing season to keep the soil cool
try to grow in the spring and fall, like said before me, Cilantro likes cooler climate and soil.

Isa...don't pinch back yet, a little more development of the taproot will ensure a stronger plant.

slow bolt, Chinese and Long standing are the cultivars to seek out.

Also though, flowering coriander in a cottage garden is absolutly stunning.

Some fun facts to know.
The seed is mildly narcotic, (maybe thats why pickes are so popular)

The root is ground and added to curries.

It was an Egyptian aphrodisiac

And the Greeks flavored wine with it.

The seeds also help with migraines, reduces flatulence, and aids digestion.
 
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Joined Dec 30, 1999
As posted in the thread 2002 Gardens

If you live in zone 5 or higher, you need to plant during the early spring and late fall when the when the weather is cooler. Cilantro doesn't like heat. The warmer the climate, the faster it bolts (goes to seed). I found this out the hard way myself.

It's fine if you do succession planting, at least sow once every two weeks if not once a week for a continuing supply.

Propagation: Sow seed outdoors in early spring. If you want a regular supply of cilantro, sow every two weeks through the summer, because it tends to bolt easily in hot summer days.

There are cultivars ("varieties" of coriander) which are "slow bolting".
 
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Well, the guys beat me to it! Pinch back when the plants have 4-6 leaves, and you see a new shoot, or set of leaves begin to develop. Pinch off that new shoot (yes, I know, it's like killing your babies!) at the top of the plant - the plant, thinking that it can't grow up anymore, will begin to produce more side shoots.

Coriander roots are used in Thai and Malaysian cooking, also.

I always wonder, when I read about coriander 'liking cool weather', how they grow it in Mexico, and in hot Asian climates, like Thailand and India. Too bad we don't have any members from those countries!

Narcotic-------aphrodisiac-------no wonder I love it so much!;)

Oh, and Isa, there's wooly thyme, mother-of-thyme, creeping thyme, variegated thyme - and more!
 

isa

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I understand the concept of pinching I am, however, still confuse about the where. Do I pinch the leaf?? the branch??


Thanks for your help Marmalady!
 
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Isa,

"Pinching off" cilantro is much like pinching off parsley. Just a few leaves are at the end of each stem so even if you took the leaves off the end of the stem, that stem would "die off" pretty quickly. So go aheand and take the stem too because this will allow all your plant's "energy" to go to "new growth" instead of feeding a stem with no leaves. Just pinch off as your plant matures and as you need some for cooking.

;)
 

isa

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Joined Apr 4, 2000
Thanks for your help Cchiu! :)


My plants are now seven inches tall. They have four leaves and three stems. Guess it's time to pinch.
 
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Joined Dec 30, 1999
Isa,

No hurry, just use as you need it, as long as you see new shoots coming from the center, you'll continue to have a lasting supply. The plant's goal is always to "bolt" meaning to produce seed. As long as you pinch off as you need it, this prevents the plant from being able to do so and thus prolongs the life of your plant and your enjoyment of the herb.

:)
 
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