Growing coriander in your garden really will put spice into your life! The coriander plant is two plants in one – a spice and a herb.
The pungent seeds are the spice, and the leaf is the herb part
Chopped fresh coriander will add a mild curry taste to any dish, which means you can save on buying or making curry sauces.
Coriander has been grown for many centuries as a medicinal and culinary herb.
The Chinese believed it to have life-lengthening powers, and it has been referred to in history as an aphrodisiac.
Coriander has a very strong smell and defined taste. It is used chiefly to flavour curries, soups and stews.
I’ve always grown coriander from seed. It tends to germinate well and will re-seed itself in moderate climates. A coriander patch can look after itself for years!
Amazon is a good place to start if you want to buy your seeds online. I found these organic seeds at a good price (UK)
Coriander – 1000 Seeds – Organic
“Ideal for containers / windowsills or open ground with well draining soil and full sun.”
Find a nice sunny spot for coriander. It is native to warm climates, and likes the sun. It will tolerate some shade but avoid draughty or cold spots.
Grow a few plants here and there among your vegetables. The smell deters aphids and other garden pests. It doesn’t worry the birds though!
Prepare the soil to a fine consistency and remove weeds and large stones.
Coriander seed should be sown about half an inch (2cms) deep in rows 9-12 inches (25-30cms) apart. However, I’ve simply scattered seed around in the vegetable plot and had great success with growing coriander. I used the seed I had collected from my plants the year before and therefore had plenty to play with.
But if you’re starting from scratch, don’t risk wasting them. Sow them in lines as the seed packet tells you.
Sow a few very short lines of seed here and there around the whole garden, remember to add a line to your herb beds.
Generally, coriander can be sown fairly early in Spring, but you should check the growing recommendations on your seed packet to make sure.
Water your seeds in and keep weed-free.
Growing coriander in containers
As with most herbs, coriander can be grown in pots, and even kept indoors ( in fact, keeping a coriander plant near an open window can deter flies from entering your home all summer )
Keep soil watered and well-drained. Feed with an organic fertilizer every few weeks to help the plant produce lots of leaf.
Looking after coriander
Keep weed-free and watered during very hot temperatures. Otherwise, just pick and use!
Add a few chopped coriander leaves to salads, boiled potatoes, potato salads, stews, soups, curries.
In a moderate climate – when the temperature doesn’t get below freezing for more than a couple of weeks during the winter – you may be able to leave your coriander patch to re-grow itself year after year.
Coriander is an ‘annual’ and will produce seed and die. Leave some plants to drop their seed naturally and clear the dead plants later. Hopefully, in mid-late spring some of these seeds will germinate. Dig up the new plants gently if you want to move them, when they have 4-6 true leaves.
If your soil is very acidic, add a little nitrogen but adding nutrients can impair the taste of the herb, so should be avoided if possible.
Coriander leaves are best used fresh, but as with most herbs it can be stored reasonably
Either hang whole stems upside down in a dark airy place for a couple of weeks, or lay out on racks to dry in the sun, turning regularly. When completely dry, crumble into glass jars, label and store out of direct light.
Drying does take away some of the strength of taste and scent.
Freeze quickly on trays and store in freezer bags. Label.
Storing coriander seeds is probably the most efficient way of capturing the coriander taste long after the plant has died. Simply collect and store in a glass jar with airtight lid. Store out of direct light.
Add seeds to pickles, soups and stews all through the winter, and remember to keep a few for sowing next year!
P.S. I extracted this text from 20 Everyday Herbs – a handy download if you’re thinking about growing some herbs this year.
20 Everyday Herbs
A potted history of twenty everyday herbs, step by step growing instructions, storing ideas and even medicinal uses.
Basil … Bay … Celery … Chives … Coriander … Dill … Fennel … Garlic … Horseradish … Lavender … Lemon Balm … Lovage … Marigold … Mint … Nasturtium … Oregano … Parsley … Rosemary … Sage … Thyme.
’20 Everyday Herbs’ is packed full of everything you need to know about how to grow herbs for everyday use. A must-have! Choose from your favourite online bookstore: