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Coriander has many uses in the kitchen as both the seeds and leaves can be used for flavouring. The seeds, which have a lemon flavour, are often ground and used as a spice. The leaves, which are also known as cilantro and have a slightly bitter taste, can be chopped and used to flavour dishes or used as a garnish.
Coriander is most often used in Chinese and Thai cooking, especially curries.
Outside: May - July
Indoors: Virtually all Year Round
Coriander do not transplant well and will likely go to seed (bolt) very quickly if the roots are disturbed. For this reason it is always best to sow coriander seeds directly into pots or into the soil of their permanent growing positions during the spring and summer months. Seeds should be carefully sown in drills at around 5cm apart, if growing for leaves, and up to 20cm apart if growing for seed production.
Growing in pots
Seeds can be sown directly into pots or containers, which have a minimum depth of 15cm to accommodate the long tap root. Use quality compost to ensure healthy plants. Coriander are equally at home in sunny positions and partial shade but always ensure the plants are watered otherwise they will quickly go to seed. Apply a liquid feed every 2-3 weeks.
Growing in beds
Planting beds should be well prepared, incorporating plenty of organic matter and the soil should drain freely. A heavy clay type soil is not really suitable for coriander, and may encourage the plants to go to seed early. Water plants regularly and remove any weeds from the beds as soon as they appear. If the soil has been well prepared then applying a liquid feed will not really be necessary.
As a rule, if growing coriander for leaves only then a partially shaded position is best. If growing for the seeds then a sunny position is best to ensure the seeds ripen properly. You can continue to sow coriander every 2-3 weeks to be certain of a regular supply of fresh leaves throughout the summer. Try to ensure the soil around the plants remains moist at all times.
Pests and diseases
Being an aromatic plant, coriander is not generally favoured by aphids or leaf eating pests but slugs could be a problem for the young seedlings. Having a long tap root makes the coriander susceptible to root rot, however well-drained soil should help avoid this condition.
Harvesting and storage
Simply pick or cut the leaves from the parent plant and use when required. The leaves will keep in a fridge for a few days but you can also freeze them. The best way to freeze is to collect the leaves and stems and place straight into a plastic bag before placing into a freezer. Leaves that have been frozen are not recommended for salads or garnishes as they will be less rigid when thawed. When collecting seeds, cut off the old flower heads and place into paper bags. Store in a dry place for 3 weeks then shake the heads to remove the seeds.
The seeds produced lovely green plants, which lasted for a long time. Can recommend!
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