This hardy annual herb makes a pretty clump of fresh green leaves in a sunny or partially shaded spot, in the ground or in a container. A relative of parsley, coriander is grown for its tangy leaves as well as its aromatic seeds, which are used to flavour curries.
Jobs to do now
- Sow seeds in the ground or in containers
- Thin out seedlings
- Water and weed regularly
- Harvest leaves
Month by month
Seeds can be sown outdoors from spring to autumn, in a sunny or lightly shaded spot with free-draining soil. You can also sow into pots of multi-purpose compost.
Scatter the seeds thinly, cover with a little soil or compost, and water gently. Germination takes from one to three weeks.
Sow small batches every three or four weeks for a constant supply of leaves from mid-summer onwards.
You can extend your leaf harvests into early winter by sowing batches in autumn under cloches or in a low polythene tunnel.
When growing coriander for the seeds, sow in full sun in spring or early summer to ensure the seeds ripen, and thin out seedlings to 10cm (4in) apart to give plants space to mature.
Keep the soil or compost moist, but avoid overwatering. Dry conditions can cause plants to bolt (or flower) prematurely.
Plants don’t normally need feeding, but the occasional application of a balanced liquid feed can be used as a pick-me-up.
Weed regularly around plants grown for seeds, so they don’t have to compete for sunlight or water.
Coriander leaves, flowers and seeds are all edible and can be harvested from mid-summer onwards.
Pick the leaves when young and use fresh or freeze for later. Regular picking encourages more leaves to sprout.
When plants start to flower, either pick the blooms to add to salads, or leave them to form seeds.
For coriander seeds
Pick the seeds when ripe, just before they start to fall – cut entire stems and allow to dry on a sheet of paper in a warm room.
When the seeds are fully dry, store in an airtight container.
Seeds can be used whole or ground to a coarse powder with a pestle and mortar.
Slugs and snails
These feed on the young seedlings and you'll see the tell tale slime trail on the soil around your crop, as well as on the leaves.
There are many ways to control slugs and snails, including beer traps, sawdust or eggshell barriers, copper tape and biocontrols.
Plants flower and set seed prematurely.
Unless growing for seed sow bolt-resistant varieties. Sow or plant at the correct time and keep the soil or compost moist.
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