Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs to grow in the garden.
Cilantro has a strong, distinctive flavor. It is robust and quite unmistakable, making it a favorite of salsa lovers everywhere. In fact, cilantro is so versatile, that the seeds of the cilantro plant, called coriander, are also used in cooking. It really is a culinary delight.
With just a little attention and care, you can be harvesting cilantro and using it in your own cuisine…without having to pay ridiculous grocery store prices!
Cilantro plants grow very quickly. When the weather gets warm, and the roots reach around 75 degrees, they will bolt and go to seed very quickly. This is why spring and fall are the best times to grow cilantro.
You will need to sew your cilantro continuously throughout the growing season. The frequency of this depends on the climate where you live, but plan on every every 3-6 weeks or so to maintain a constant crop. The good news? Most of the time cilantro will re-seed itself, requiring little to no work on your part.
To begin with your initial sowing: Plant your cilantro seeds 1/4 inch deep, and a few inches apart in an area of your garden that preferably gets morning sun and afternoon shade. Planting your cilantro seeds close together will give the plants a little extra shade and this will help keep the roots cooler thus making your plants last a little bit longer.
Your soil should be well drained and moist. Add a thin, light layer of mulch or compost to give your cilantro plants an extra layer of protection from heat.
If your plants develop flowers, pinch or clip them off to keep the leaves growing. This slows down the bolting process a little, and provides you with yummy, fresh cilantro for a few more days! When you allow the cilantro to finally go to seed, they will then sow themselves back into your garden soil and you will be blessed with another cilantro crop in a matter of weeks. That’s just one more reason why I love cilantro – plant it once, and enjoy it multiple times, without extra or unnecessary work.
Harvesting Your Cilantro
Wait until the cilantro plant is at least 6 inches tall with multiple outer leaves to harvest. (You can harvest it sooner, but it may not fare as well) Cut and harvest the outer leaves first. This gives the smaller, inner leaves more time to grow and will provide you with a few additional harvests before the plant goes to seed.
Use your cilantro while it’s good and fresh. It generally does not dry well, and tastes best in fresh cuisine.
Add your fresh cilantro to homemade salsa, store-bought salsa, soups, salads, pasta dishes, mexican dishes, and more.