I like living in Melbourne, I like living in Melbourne’s suburbs, they are; friendly, feel safe, have a down to earth vibe and are vibrant. What’s not to like? Well coriander doesn’t seem to see it that way. Instead it refuses to germinate, gets itself eaten by slugs and snails, decides to go to seed instead of producing leaves, yellows and dies for no reason and basically behaves like a petulant child. Frankly I’m not impressed!!!! Having said all that I am very excited as I do currently have some nice healthy plants in my garden which are doing what they should do – that is produce leaves at a rate greater than I want to eat them.
How I grow it:
The simple answer to this is probably fairly unsuccessfully – however there are some things that have worked. When I want to sow seeds then I try and start sowing in mid Autumn and then sow them fortnightly from then on until everything I sow bolts so quickly it is no longer worth attempting (this seems to start happening about mid Spring).
In general the plants that seem to grow best are Autumn planted (or sown) which means they get to do their main growing in winter. The cold seems to inhibit their desire to go to seed. I have had more success buying seedlings than sowing seed. By buying seedlings I have avoided both germination issues and the really young stage when my plants often get eaten by slugs etc. Buying seedlings hasn’t been foulproof – they can still bolt before you want them to, some still die for no apparent reason but it does seem easier than sowing seed.
I do get the occasional coriander plant self seeding which is nice but obviously can’t be relied upon if you want regular crops.
I have grown coriander successfully in pots – as it does like a bit of room, I have had most success with pots that are at least 20cm in diameter – one plant per pot.
Coriander grows happily in both sun and shade as long as the shade is well lit. I have parts of my main bed which the sun doesn’t reach in winter (due to being near the house) but gets lots of light and the coriander likes it here – it copes less well planted under my tamarillo where the shade is a lot deeper.
I currently have about 10 plants scattered throughout the garden and in pots and I plan to plant another punnet of seedlings within the next week or two. When these plants look like going to seed I will cut the emerging flower heads out of about half to try and encourage more leaf production – the remainder I will leave to go to seed – both for the bee attracting qualities and for the seed itself which I also use in cooking. If I plan to collect seed to replant then I will collect it from the last plant to start to flower as this is the characteristic I most value. I do use the roots to make curry paste – if I have a lot of plants then when some look like bolting I will often harvest those plants for roots and then start again with new seedlings.
I do wish coriander was a bit easier – I love using it and the plants themselves are attractive so I will persevere and perhaps one day perfect its cultivation. In the meantime if anyone has any advice it would be much appreciated.