Cilantro, normally known as coriander, is an herb widely used in Asian cooking. The mild, lemony flavor enhances the taste of lentil, vegetable and some fish dishes.
In Ayurvedic medicine, people grow cilantro for the seeds because they are valued as a carminative and stimulant as well as for their ability to lower blood cholesterol levels if taken regularly. Because of its culinary and medicinal uses, cilantro is a wonderful herb to have in the kitchen and with some knowledge and care, you can even grow cilantro at home.
Grow With All The Necessary Conditions In Place
Given the right soil, temperature, air, and adequate water, it is relatively easy to grow cilantro. However, you must keep in mind that this herb is sensitive to extreme heat and cold and will go to seed too early in unfavorable conditions.
Grow cilantro for seeds
To grow cilantro exclusively for seeds, you need to position the plant in full sun. The excessive heat will prove stressful for the plant, making it flower earlier than normal thereby accelerating seed production. A point to remember is that big, healthy plants produce better seeds and in greater quantities. So if you are not in a hurry to harvest the seeds, you might want to let your plants grow tall and strong first.
Best time to grow the plant
In temperate zones, it is best to grow cilantro in summer while in tropical areas, winter is the best growing season. Cilantro self-seeds in the tropics and wherever the winters are relatively mild; elsewhere the seeds should be harvested and sown again the following year.
This aromatic annual herb can grow up to two feet tall in favorable conditions. It does best in well-drained, moist, rich soil but you can grow cilantro inadequately nourished soil, adding some liquid fertilizer when needed.
Cilantro needs to be sown in the ground or deep containers because the plant develops a long taproot. Sow the seeds at one cm deep, then cover them with compost and water the soil regularly but do not make it soggy and you’ll notice that the seed will germinate within three weeks.
Grow cilantro for leaf
When you grow cilantro for leaf, place the seeds at a distance of about five cm from each other, however, if you are growing cilantro for seed, you need to keep more space between plants. It’s best to plant cilantro in rows because that makes harvesting much easier.
When the seedlings are about five cm high, thin them to space them 20 cm apart from each other to enable them to grow into strong plants. In warm climates, it is easy to grow cilantro to the seed production stage just 30 to 40 days whereas in cooler environments it takes a few months for seeds to develop.
If you grow cilantro for seed not only do you need more space, you will also need more plants, that’s why it is better to plant cilantro on the ground in your garden rather than in containers indoors. However, if you do use containers, make sure the soil drains well thus enabling air to circulate. Lining the base with gravel or bits of pottery improves drainage.
In order to obtain cilantro seeds, you need to harvest the flower heads when they are dry. When that happens, just cut the stalks, bunch them together and place them flower heads down with stems sticking out in a large, thick paper bag which you need to tie securely and hang up in a shady spot. Once dry they are ready to be stored in an airtight container in a cool and dark place.
The Process For Planting Cilantro At Home
If you want to plant the cilantro, you can buy the cilantro seeds from the nearby gardening shop where it comes in a packet clear instructions at the back.
You can separate the seeds into two halves. One-half of the seeds you can leave them in whole and the other half of the seeds you may just split the seeds up because without split the seeds, they tend to grow together.
You need to choose a pot or container that has holes at the bottom. This allows the water to drain out when you are watering them.
Once you get your pot ready, you can start to put the compost inside the pot.
You can plant the split seeds and the whole seeds together. Before you plant them, you need to make sure that you spread them properly so that they have enough space to grow. Don’t let them all squished together which may make them be too crowded and may not be able to grow.
You may push the seeds a little bit deep into the soil so that the roots can start growing. After you finish planting the seeds, you can water the compost. You can then dip them with a plastic lid. If you don’t have a lid, you can also use a foil to cover the pot. You just need to cover it for 1 week.
We want to cover the pot with a lid is because this will give a glasshouse effect for the seed that will keep them nice and warm inside.
That’s why you can grow cilantro seeds inside your house in any weather. You have to put the pot close to your windowsill. You can put a plate underneath the pot so that when you water the plants, the water doesn’t drain out and goes down to your windowsill.
After one week you will see the split cilantro seeds will start growing. You will also notice some white stuff on the seeds. These are the roots that have grown up.
After five-week, you will see some of the leaves are turning into cilantro leaves. And around six-week, you can start to harvest them and use them for your cooking.
It’s not only easy to grow cilantro in your home once you know how to do so. It’s also worthwhile considering the herb’s culinary and medicinal uses.
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