Sunday 29 April 2012

Cracking Coriander

Coriander has become a bit of a thing with me. Fresh coriander leaf is that extra thing that transforms a good curry into a special curry. We get through quite a lot of bought coriander, and sometimes end up wasting it as it doesn't keep long in the fridge once picked. So we would love to have our own fresh supply from the garden to pick at will. 

Last year I had limited success. As always it quickly went to seed. I want to grow for leaf rather than seed. I'm relying on keeping my plants well watered in a rich soil mixture and doing later sowings as well. Last year a couple of stray plants on the plot lasted well into November, much to my surprise. Despite the association with warm climate curries the plant seems to prefer lower temperatures.

The thing about coriander seed is that you always get two for one - as you can see from the pictures above. Each seed is two seeds bundled together inside a coarse husk. Perhaps this is the reason some people recommend bruising the seeds before sowing.

I've never tried this before - but here goes:

Partially ground seed
It may be that the variety I am growing is not a good leaf producer, as it has been grown for seed. So here's another ploy I have read about but never tried before.  I've bought a pot of supermarket "growing" coriander. These have definitely been grown for leaf. I'm going to transplant these and wait for them to go to seed. Then when I sow the seed next year I'll be growing the same variety for leaf!!

(I just hope the're not F1 hybrids!)

And it looks as if the supermarket growers don't bother about preparing their seeds. As you can see they're coming up in twos.


  1. I have a problem with coriander too although last year some self sowed on the plot. The trouble was it was in amongst the strawberries and so had to be weeded out!!

    1. So they're not companion plants in your book Sue?

    2. I don't know about that Mal. It was just that I needed to pop the biodegradable mulch around the strawberries. Apparently pungent plants can deter some pests and from what I've read about companion planting coriander is good to plant near carrots or cabbages. The trouble is it wouldn't be there long enough as a long term deterrent - even if it worked!

  2. I have a plant that lasted right through the winter and is still going strong. I think they do better in cooler conditions - less likely to go to seed, so I tend to grow them somewhere quite shady.

  3. There are varieties that produce large leaves and are supposed to be bolt resistant. One of those varieties is Caribe which I planted last year. It did do much better then others that I have planted in the past.

    It will be interesting to see how your experiment turns out. Keep us posted.

  4. Good luck with the experiment, as a curry addict I can't do without coriander!

  5. Good luck.
    I've never bothered too much with growing my own herbs, but I know I really should!!!


  6. My parents have grown coriander all their lives here and do so very successfully. My mother always bruises the coriander seeds before sowing. I've tried to grow it too, but not so well. So I am glad I have moved closer to them, can nick theirs now. I wish you well with it and hope it thrives, its a fantastic herb, my favourite in fact.