Sunday, June 12, 2011

Herbs: Cilantro, the experiment



If you've ever attempted to grow cilantro you might understand when I say that it's TRICKY! But I so badly want to grow it... because I'm tired of buying a new bundle every week. I use it so often... why can't I just figure out how to grow it?!

I had given up at one point due to failing on more than one occasion. This time I set my mind to researching the known issues further, asking other herb lovers (and by "herb lovers" I mean, they like to GROW and UTILIZE herbs... not smoke them) and doing an experiment of my own.

I had learned a lot in the meantime ... how difficult can this be?! So, I purchased two cilantro plants and found similar size containers to put them in.


What I learned...
Cilantro does not like heat but it likes a lot of the cool morning sun.
The soil must stay moist and have good drainage.
The plant should be trimmed regularly to promote new growth.
Snails/slugs LOVE cilantro and can eat through a plant within about 24 hours.
Each plant will potentially harvest two or three bundles of clippings before bolting.
Depending on how much cilantro being use, plant more seed every 2-3 weeks to ensure continual availability.
Cilantro grows very fast!
When the plant bolts, you can use the coriander seeds to replant or save them and use them as a spice.


Sample #1
Grow INDOORS next to window that gets that most morning sun but in a room that does not get hot. Keep soil moist and trim regularly. (And since I don't have snails in my home I think this is the example that will work the best.)

Sample #2
Grow OUTDOORS, where it gets morning sun, but is in the shade during the hottest part of the day. Keep soil moist and trim regularly. (Watch daily for snails/slugs.)





Can you guess which sample is which?!




As you can see the sample on the right is not well at all. I had noticed quite a bit of dead sprigs on it and trimmed it back (it's first trimming). And gave it more water. It has not bounced back.

The plant on the left is Sample 2, which is the winner... the OUTDOOR sample is thriving!


Would you like to know more about it's current growing conditions?
The plant gets streaming morning light, but partly shaded direct sun for about an hour in the morning. It sits on a tall ledge, under the over-hang, by my front door. I keep the soil moist, by adding about a cup of water to the soil every other day. A good portion of that water drains out the bottom, but it holds on to what it needs.

I will be trimming a good portion of this back today. Stay tuned for future pictures of how long this planting lasts and what it looks like...



enjoy your time in the kitchen (and the garden)...

2 comments:

Mosaic Momma said...

How far are you cutting it back when you do it? Also, it doesn't come back bolted?

Lori said...

Heather - I'm going to cut it at approximately half inch above soil. And this is a "slo-bolting" plant. So, I'm not sure WHEN it will bolt. But I'll keep you posted.

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