Coriander is a very versatile ingredient that can be added to so many dishes to make them come alive. If you start to fall in love with coriander you will soon realize it works in so many dishes that you are using it so much you need to start growing your own. Growing your own coriander is an easy and economic way to ensure you have more of the good green stuff in your life.
A couple of clarifications are required. Coriander is the green herb with small yet wide leaves. It is known by many names. In some parts of the world, it is called Chinese parsley, in others, it is called dhania. In America, they call the leaves and the stem cilantro while they call the seeds coriander. However internationally most people call the leaves and stem coriander and the seeds, coriander seeds. For that reason, we will refer to the plant as coriander for this article but whatever you want to call it, you should start growing it.
The second thing to clarify is that some people hate coriander. To most of us, coriander is so delicious that we don’t understand why people hate it. The answer lies in science. While most of us get a herby smell from coriander some people have slightly different smell receptors that return a soapy smell when they sniff coriander. The next time someone says they hate coriander don’t judge their undeveloped tastebuds, sympathize with their odd smell receptors. This means that if entertaining guests you should always ask how they feel about coriander before including it as an ingredient.
Growing coriander from its seed is easy to do. Your first decision is whether to grow it in a pot or outside. This depends on the temperature of where you live and how much space you have. Both work well but we prefer growing outside if the elements suit. If you choose a pot it will need to be at least eight inches deep. If you grow outside then you have your compost buried around 18 inches deep.
Plant your coriander seeds ¼ inch deep and if you are planting more than one (why not) make sure they are around seven inches apart to give the plant plenty of room to flourish once it starts to grow. You should water your new coriander plant a lot to allow it to thrive and once it starts to show around two inches of height, introduce some nitrogen fertilizer to really get it growing.
If you live somewhere very hot then plant your seeds just after the hot season or somewhere they can have a little shade during the day. If you live somewhere with a more temperate climate then plant them in full sun exposure right before the summer takes hold. Once the summer season hits you will find the coriander plant will explode in growth.
You need to wait until the plant is over five inches tall before you start trimming the leaves. It is important to harvest your coriander quickly. It dies soon after it produces seed. Once it produces seed they will self sow and you will start to have lots of coriander plants around your main coriander plants. The roots will then compete for water and strangle each other. Best to avoid that. With this in mind, we prefer not to plant all of our coriander plants at once. Plant them three to four weeks apart and you will find your coriander harvest is staggered. The alternative is to plant at the same time and simply freeze the extra you don’t require.
Growing your own coriander is an easy and cheap way to ensure you have a plentiful supply. Now you just have to find some fun recipes that make the most of your plethora of coriander.