Friday, November 20, 2009

Growing Cilantro

A rose by any other name is still a rose, or so the saying goes, but cilantro by any other name could be called Chinese parsley or coriander. A quick search on some popular food recipe websites and in the matter of seconds I was able to find hundreds of recipes. Cilantro can be used three times, well sort of. You can harvest the leaves and add them to do your dish as an herb, or you can harvest the fruit also called coriander seeds which have a lemony-citrus flavor when crushed or you can harvest the roots which have an intense flavor and are most notably used in Asian cuisine. Which ever way you go, there is no doubting that cilantro should be part of your vegetable garden.

No need to worry about when to start your seeds indoors because cilantro won`t do well using this method. The reason being is that cilantro does not transplant well, so any growth you would have indoors would more than likely be lost once you moved it to the outdoors. Start your seeds outdoors at least one week beyond the final frost. You can then plant cilantro every 3 weeks up until a week prior to the first frost in the autumn months. This will give you a steady supply of cilantro throughout the year.

Cilantro seeds take about 10 days to germinate and grow well in full sun with a moderate watering in soil that has a pH level of at least 6.0 but not higher than 7.0. To test the pH level of your soil, grab a home soil testing kit from your local home or garden center for just a couple of bucks. Once you obtain your reading follow the instructions on the package to raise or lower your soil`s pH level as needed.

When the plant is eight inches tall it is ready to be harvested. You want to harvest the entire plant. If you want to use the seeds of the plant simply let it grow until it goes to seed then harvest the entire plant. Once the entire plant is harvested you can use the roots, leaves and seeds (if you let it grow that far) for a variety of dishes.

Avoid following carrots if you plan on putting your cilantro in a plant rotation cycle and avoid planting cilantro near fennel as the two plants do not make sure good companions, whereas tomatoes make for a great companion plant.

As you can see adding cilantro, Chinese parsley, coriander to your home vegetable garden is easier than you might think. Get some in your garden today.

About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, available where gardening books are sold. Sign up for Mike`s vegetable gardening newsletter at his website: and he will send you a free pack of vegetable seeds to get your garden started.

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