Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Coriander (also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley).... Coriandrum sativum

I have had several comments about coriander recently.   People either love it or hate it, and many find it hard to grow.

I love the flavour,  so much so,  that I have been known to buy two bunches at the market (in the past,  when I didn't always have it growing) because invariably one would be eaten before I reached home!

These days,  I grow it almost all of the year round.  It is easy to grow in the winter and doesn't seem troubled by light frosts.  All winter,  I have been eating the coriander from the self sown seeds of last summer's crop....
 There are still a few pieces to pick,  but the plants are beginning to try to flower....
 I think that this may be associated with the lengthening days rather than the temperature.  Coriander flowers are lovely too...

... this was taken in the same patch,  earlier in the year.

The plants that I am picking in recent days are these....  here....


 ....  and here....
 ....  in a different part of the garden.

No doubt these will soon try to flower and produce seed as well,  but picking the leaves regularly will prolongue the leafy phase.

The next crop is not yet ready....
 ...  these seeds were planted about six weeks ago,  from memory.  Seeds were from the flowers shown above, and picked at the same time as those for all of the currrent cropping plants.  I keep plenty of seeds for sequential planting....

The seeds are also good to eat.  They are a significant component of many curry powders and are good just to chew on as they grow.

Coriander plants produce vast numbers of seeds.  I pick quite a few of them for planting where I need them to grow, and those are the ones that I save in little envelopes ready for planting every couple of weeks.   I also break the dried stalks (seeds attached) off and scatter them in other parts of the garden...  even shady parts,  especially in summer.  Unexpected little crops of coriander appear under trees, among weeds or among other vegetables.

As the days become longer and the weather hotter, I will need to plant seeds more frequently in order to maintain production.  In mid-summer when the weather is very hot,  coriander is harder to grow.  It would be possible to resort to indoor pots or purchase from hydroponic crops,  but by then the basil will be abundant and seasonal eating is ok too.



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