Saturday Spotlight on Sunday – Coriander “Superharvest”

CorianderI find coriander quite a  frustrating crop to grow.  My first issue is that its near impossible to grow it here for much of the year.  It is slow to establish, bolts quickly, wont germinate, gets eaten by slugs and snails and is generally too hard to bother with a lot of the time.  The exception is during winter.  Winter (and early Spring) is the best time to grow coriander in Melbourne.  Which is annoying really when you consider that you don’t have lovely things like tomatoes (which marry well with coriander) during winter.

I try and sow my coriander monthly from late Autumn when it is still warm enough to germinate.  I sow it indoors in winter moving it outside as soon as it germinates.   This year I been growing “SuperHarvest” which I am finding much the same as my previous variety “Slow Bolting”.

Lately I have been sowing my coriander in seed trays to keep it safer from the slugs and snails which seem to delight in decimating my seedlings which I sow direct in the ground.  Coriander does self seed nicely from time to time and when it does I find the seedlings are considerably stronger than any I sow regardless of whether I sow direct or in punnets.

I use coriander in a variety of things.  The leaves I use in salsas, guacamole, curries and salads.  The roots I tend to use when making Thai curry paste.  If you haven’t tried using them before I would recommend them.  They have a lovely coriander flavour which does dissapate nearly as quickly when cooked compare with the leaves.

Coriander root

Do you find much variation between coriander varieties?

Saturday Spotlight is a series of posts highlighting particular varieties of edible plants.  If you have a favourite, or even a less than successful variety of a plant and would like to include it in the series then please leave a comment with a link below.    I have created a page (above, just below the header) with an Index of all the Spotlights to date.   I will add links to any new posts below and in next weeks post as well as ensuring they appear in the Index.  

New posts from last week:

Millionaire” Eggplant – Our Happy Acres

Savoy Cabbage – Garden Glut

Purple Sicily Cauliflower – Home Sweet Kitchen

and from this week:

“Hollow Crown” Parsnips – Garden Glut

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29 Responses to Saturday Spotlight on Sunday – Coriander “Superharvest”

  1. Roger Brook says:

    Great tip about using the roots!
    My bug bear is that if I produce coriander Brenda never wants it and it goes over. When it does go over she asks for some!
    I can’t be bothered with repeated sowings and just let it seed itself around my vegetable garden like a green manure, there is usually some to be found other than (in York) in deep winter

    • Liz says:

      Brenda sounds like me – I have a tendency to always want to crops that aren’t available. right now I would love some green beans and cucumbers but sadly those a while off for us.

  2. Mark Willis says:

    My situation is much as Roger’s. I am allergic to leaf coriander, but Jane likes it. I always find it hard to have some reliably available, because it bolts so quickly. Jane says that fresh coriander from the garden is a lot stronger than bought stuff — so much so that it can be a bit overpowering, apparently. For these reasons I seldom grow it these days! Last year I grew some for the seed (to which I am NOT allergic), and this produced a small quantity of amazingly pungent seeds, but it was hardly worth the effort because the quantity was too small to justify the use of precious space.

    • Liz says:

      Is that an unusual allergy? I’ve not come across it before. I imagine it makes eating out particularly in South East Asia a little tricky. I know you spent a fair bit of time in that neck of the woods.

  3. Sharon says:

    I love coriander and have always failed with it as it just went to seed. But this year I brought some plants in autumn and they have flourished all over the winter, even survived a few heavy frosts! I am in central NZ and it can get pretty cold. Last summer I discovered a new use for the seeds, harvest them while still green and sprinkle them over salads and I have also added to the Naan bread I make. You dont need a lot, quite a strong flavour but oh so yummy!

  4. I’ve some coriander growing in a pot that is sitting on top of an old bird cage. The idea is that the slugs won’t climb up the bars!

  5. Louise says:

    Love using coriander root and leaf! I have never tried to grow coriander in Australia. I grew it quite a lot in Blighty but there I grew it from seed in a little green house – it worked well in that kind of environment – I guess it was more stable temperature wise? But becasue of its tendency to bolt I have never tried here. Perhaps I should give it a go like you in winter? It’s much harder to buy now that I live in the country and really miss having it readily available so perhaps I SHOULD try it.

    I must say that I have never noticed the difference btw varieties.

  6. Michelle says:

    I’ve never noticed a difference between varieties of coriander/cilantro. It’s equally difficult to get to grow in the summer in my garden as in yours, I’m struggling to get some to grow in the shade of some other veggies in the garden at the moment. And as in your garden it grows huge and lush in the winter. Unlike your garden though I don’t have snail and slug problems so I sow all mine direct, although sowing is probably not quite the right term, I let it set seed and then toss the seeds all over the garden and let it grow where it will. The biggest problem is the sowbugs, but they don’t usually eat all the seedlings. I actually welcome the bolting plants in the summer, the blossoms are so attractive to beneficial insects and there’s very few, really almost no blooming plants outside the garden at this time of year.

    • Liz says:

      Sowbugs? I’m not sure that that is something I would like to meet. I do like this tossing the seeds all over approach – I will definitely deploy it next year.

  7. Sarah says:

    Like you, I’ve found the self-seeded coriander does a lot better than module raised plants. But I wouldn’t be without it in the garden, and when it does bolt I use the green coriander seed to make a dip with Greek yoghurt, a bit of garlic and some seasoning.

  8. It’s such a relief to hear someone else say its a pain to grow! We’ve never had a successful crop, until now. We have tiny seedling coming up now after sowing the seeds enforce we went to Nepal, nearly 7 weeks ago now. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they turn out ok.

    • Liz says:

      I hope they do too. I reckon they should do OK at this time of the year but then again it is a ridiculously temperamental plant.

  9. Daphne says:

    I rarely sow cilantro (what we call the leafy part of the coriander). I just let it pop up where it will in the garden. If I want it to pop up somewhere else I toss the chaff from when I’m collecting seed. I have so much that there is still a lot of seed in the chaff. Of course that means I usually only have it in the spring and sometimes in the fall if I’m lucky and it germinates fast enough. I’m OK with that.

  10. I’m so frustrated with coriander! In the first year of the Country Garden it grew brilliantly for ages, and even when it went to seed it did it quite slowly. Now I can’t get it to grow at all. I’ve tried at different times of the year, but my memory is that it was Spring/ early Summer when it grew well the first time around. When I do have it, we use the roots too, and I use a mixture of ground coriander seeds and ground cumin seeds in heaps of dishes. Well done on your success with it!

    • Liz says:

      It is frustrating isn’t it? I have a few plants that I grow successfully sometime but others less so but I can never pin down why some years are so much better than others. Celery and head lettuce spring to mind.

  11. Nina says:

    Like some others, I specifically sow and also scatter. Scattering seems to work best over the cooler months. I recently found a substantial crop hiding amongst the parsnips which I then dried in the dehydrator.

    I must remember to harvest the roots, eventually. Does anyone know if it is worthwhile trying to dehydrate them? I’m not sure if that would work or if they would keep well. I love having the leaf readily available when it’s fresh but I never know when I want it or need it so randomly scattered seed works okay for me as I haven’t invested time and effort. If it’s not there, I’ll (reluctantly) buy some, as needed.

    I don’t even know what variety I’m sowing so I can’t make comparisons between varieties!

    • Liz says:

      I think I will scatter a lot more next year – it has worked really well for my parsley this year so why not coriander too?

  12. Yvonne says:

    I’ve never failed to grow Coriander from seeds and usually cropped 3 times through Autumn/Winter/Spring season (the last sowing is on now as it will bolt in late Oct). I sowed the seeds from the supermarket’s herb shelf and this is much cheaper than buying a seed package. I normally sowed directly into a sunny spot and transplanted very closely (around 5cm apart) because the leaves would be picked regularly.

    • Liz says:

      Wow Yvonne. When do you first sow seeds? I think perhaps I leave my first sowings too late mistakenly assuming it will bolt.

      • Yvonne says:

        I normally first sow in Feb, then May and August, either direct or in punnet then transplant to thin out. I found the coriander roots are very long and easy to transplant.

  13. I have a definite love/hate relationship with coriander. I usually just scatter whatever seeds I have in the pantry at the time but I never get a good crop, either in the ground or pots. I did try the cut leaf variety from Diggers last year. It did seem slower to bolt than usual (or was that just my imagination?). I have just planted a packet of seeds we got with a subscription so will see if I have better luck this year.

  14. Matt from Canberra says:

    Coriander is great for reducing guilt as well as tasting great. It is high in many vitamins and minerals, folic acid, 5-hydroxytryptophan, and is one of the highest natural sources of S-adenosyl-L-methionine.

    Because coriander is generally not cooked for long these chemicals are not degraded as they often are in other foods. Each of these on their own have been proven to reduce the feelings of guilt, but when combined like this they appear to have a far greater impact.

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