Saturday, March 22, 2014

Coriander time again

The rhythm of the the seasons is one of the slower heartbeats within me. I love it. And as we approach autumn (slowly and sweating profusely in this still-sticky March weather) it's time to plant some coriander again. Autumn? Yep. Here in Sydney at least (but I guess anywhere temperate on the southern side of the equator), coriander is a much better autumn, winter and spring crop. It's a lousy summer crop, as many of you have probably discovered for yourself. 

This isn't this year's crop, it's from a previous year, as I have
just planted my coriander seeds and seedlings now. I plant
both, as coriander is a good crop to grow from seed or
seedlings. The seedlings merely get going with usable leaves
quicker, while I find the seed-grown plants last a bit longer.
And the good news is that coriander grows equally well
in the ground and in pots. All it hates is summer's heat,
when it zooms through all the stages of life, going from
leafy to flowery to seedy in just a few weeks. Autumn
and winter, it takes a more leisurely stroll along life's journey,
and plants sown now should still be good through to
early spring at least. So, plant some coriander now!
Coriander is also a good plant to grow in pots, and another
advantage to this great herb is that it can cope with less than
all-day sunshine. But it won't grow in shade. Coriander roots
aren't especially deep-growers, so a wide pot like this is fine,
if that's all you have. As well as some sunshine, coriander needs
water and liquid feeds about once a month. The more frequently
you harvest the leaves, the bushier it grows, so even if you don't
need to use it, giving it the occasional trim actually helps.
Coriander is relatively easy to grow from seed, but I find that
my best method is to sow about double the number of seeds,
compared to the number of plants I want. Germination rates
are OK but not brilliant, so just sprinkle the seeds into a shallow
trench about 6mm (1/4 inch) deep and cover with soil. They
should come up in about 10-12 days, on average. If it's cooler
they might take a bit longer to come up.
As well as getting into the rhythm of planting coriander in autumn, I've checked back and realised that I have previously blogged about it at this time of year as well, so consider this posting a community service announcement, if you will.


Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

I like the taste of coriander but have only used it as a seed in cooking. The leaves are pretty though.

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