Cilantro is now the most
popular herb the USA having surpassed basil a few years ago! Cilantro thrives in
cool weather; temperatures cause it to cease leaf production and begin
flowering. Because it has a taproot and does not transplant well, cilantro
should always be sown directly in the garden. In cold-winter climates, plant
successive sowings cilantro seeds in spring and again in late summer so you have
a constant supply. Mild-winter gardeners can often grow it in late summer and
fall and through much of the winter and then plant again for a for a spring
crop. The trick is to sow some seeds and then a few weeks later, sow some more,
so when the weather begins to turn hot in summer, you will have some young leafy
plants coming along to harvest.
2. Plant. Sow cilantro seeds in a wide row, about a quarter-inch deep and 2 inches apart. Cover seed with soil and press gently.
3. Grow. Keep seedbed moist until cilantro germinates, and be sure to provide moisture to growing plants during periods of dry weather. When seedlings are about 3 inches tall, thin them to about 4 inches apart, using the thinned seedlings in the kitchen. Apply a layer of organic mulch to conserve moisture and keep soil cool. Pull weeds that sprout nearby.
4. Enjoy. Harvest cilantro in the morning, when the leaves are crisp, cutting the stems as you need them. If the weather is cool, they will re-grow. The flavor of the leaves is pungent and complex, and is often combined with lime. A refreshing complement to fiery chiles, cilantro is used to add flavor to a wide range of dishes in both South American and Asian cuisines; salsas, guacamoles, Thai peanut sauces, and Indian chutneys wouldn’t be the same without this signature herb.
AT A GLANCE
Exposure: Full sun. Light shade may help prolong the harvest in late summer.
Planting time: Plant when the weather is cool; spring and late summer in cold winter regions, or fall through spring where below freezing temperatures are rare.
Planting depth: 1/4 inch deep
Spacing in row: Sow 2 inches apart; thin to 6 inches apart.
Time to harvest : 35 to 45days, depending on variety.
Cilantro can be sown directly into a large container