cilantro question

diggerdeeJune 12, 2007

I'm growing cilantro for the first time this year, and I'm not quite sure what I'm doing, lol!

I haven't even transplanted it out of its milk jug yet, and it seems to be already setting buds. Do I want it to do this? I know the seeds are coriander, correct? But if I let it go to seed, or even just flower, how does that affect the flavor of the leaves? Should I be pinching?

Thanks for any light you can shed on this for me!

:)

Dee

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mo_girl

This is my first year growing cilantro from seed. However, my first cilantro plant began flowering weeks ago and the leaves produced since then have been puny and it's getting leggy, so I assume it's bolting. I've used the leaves since then and they tasted fine, but it won't be long before there are not any left. I don't know if pinching off the flowers helps or not. Someone else might have an answer. I tried pinching for a while, but had a hard time keeping up with all the flowering, so I decided to just wait and harvest the seeds.

I have a few other seedlings I started a couple weeks back to replace this one. They shoot up really quickly in the heat, so it won't take long to start some more if you choose.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 11:12PM
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strouper2

Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs so I've tried to grow it several times and I've always run into the same problem with it going to seed so fast. The stuff you get in the stores always seems so nice but anytime I grow it 90% of the plant is not usable. Last year I tried it again but this time I put it in the ground and decided I would put a lot of effort into keeping it from going to seed & what did I get the same old thing. So if anyone has a solution I'd love to hear it.

Stroup

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 12:44AM
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donn_(7b-8a)

The key to growing Cilantro is to keep the roots cool. When they hit 75°F, the plant bolts, and the leaves become bitter.

I've WS'd it every year, but I have my best luck growing it from direct seeding. It's almost impossible to prick-out and transplant a seedling, so if you WS it, use cells or newspots, so the taproot doesn't get disturbed (it's in the Carrot family).

Use mulch, and plant them thickly, so the roots are well shaded and kept cool. I grow it right through the summer, but I do it in spots in the garden which get only morning sun, and afternoon shade. Pots are tough, because they heat up so quickly.

Like Basil, they need to be constantly pinched back in order to make them bushier and produce more leaves. Even in the best of conditons, a Cilantro plant will seldom produce for longer than 2 months, so succession planting is required for a continuous crop.

Lots of water, cool soil and a few hours of morning sun are all you need.

Little known Cilantro fact: A coriander seed is actually two seeds. If you break the hard seed coat, you'll find two seeds inside.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 6:11AM
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diggerdee

Thank you, everyone, for your replies, and thanks for that info, donn. Doesn't bode too well for me - I'm growing these in pots for the farmer's market. I couldn't believe the number of people who asked me for cilantro last year, so I thought I would sow some this year. I had planned on selling pots of it. Maybe I should try planting it in the ground and selling in bunches like basil instead.

Thank you!
Dee

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 9:22AM
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donn_(7b-8a)

Keep the pots buried in a cool part of the garden, and pull them just before market.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 9:33AM
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mo_girl

What kinds of things do you sell at the farmer's market? How large of a garden do you have? My dad always has a big garden, and I've mentioned to him he should start selling at the local farmer's market. He seems to think he would need to expand his garden to do that once he retires ... even though the garden's just for him and my mom :) It's not like they eat that much. They're still eating frozen green beans from last year and the new ones are about to come on.

I just started using cilantro a year or so ago. It is delicious in salsa. I'm hoping to make a lot of it this summer with all the tomatoes that will be coming soon. I've used cilantro with rice noodles along with lime juice in Asian recipes as well. Lime sets off the flavor of cilantro beautifully.

That's interesting about the roots hitting 75 degrees and bolting. I guess I would have thought cilantro would be a hot-weather herb. It makes sense that it was one of my first herbs to germinate then. I don't have that many cool areas of the garden, so I may just keep planting them in quick succession.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 12:37PM
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diggerdee

Hi mo girl,

Mostly I sell cut flower bouquets, but I also sell a few veggies and herbs, and potted plants. I don't have a large garden at all! Actually, I have access to a local greenhouse for starting, but then I wouldn't have space to plant everything anyway. I've got about an acre of land, but I'd say at this point less than a quarter of it is garden. I'm working on increasing it.

I thought cilantro was a hot-weather herb also. I think I will succession plant also and see how that goes.

Thanks!
Dee

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 1:06PM
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maidinmontana

I direct sowed cilatro, parsley,chives and basil. When they got their second set of leaves (true leaves) I cut them way down, all of them and they all seem to be doing fine, nice and full. I didn't even know you were supposed to do this, but I used to grow them inside and when I would cut them to use them it seemed to help the plant so now I do it all the time. I have nice looking plants.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 1:36PM
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diggerdee

Well, maidinmontana, I took a page out of your book, bit the bullet, and cut all my cilantro way back. Our market doesn't start till mid-july, so I figure either I'll have great plants by then, or I'll have enough time to re-sow them if I need to, lol!

:)
Dee

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 10:43PM
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barbe_wa

A farmer at our local Farmer's Market grows it in plastic tubs a little larger than a dishpan and cuts it at the time of sale. He sells it as "none fresher" and seems to do a booming business. I'm sure the tubs have holes in the bottom although I've never looked. He says he just replants the tubs every week and always has some of them ready to take to the market.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 5:01AM
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diggerdee

Well duh! I've done something similar, barbe, with my basil, but with smaller pots. I never took it a step further to do the same with a bigger pot or tub. Maybe I'll give that a try.

BTW, I just heard today that it is recommended to sow cilantro every ten days! Ten days! Wow, that's fast.

Dee

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 2:25PM
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annebert(6b/7a MD)

It's tough selling cilantro at a farmer's market. Everyone wants plants (even though it's very easy to direct seed) but it always bolts right away and the people come back and complain. Cutting direct at the market is a great idea.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 3:08PM
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mo_girl

Wow, every ten days? I better start a couple more then.

I remembered seeing Slow Bolt Cilantro seeds in my Seeds of Change catalogue, so I checked online, and it's there. I can't vouch for their claims of its slowness to bolt, but thought it was interesting.

I probably won't mess with buying new seeds for this year, but maybe next year I'll give it a try.

Here is a link that might be useful: Slow Bolt Cilantro

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 3:51PM
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krgriffin

What do you do with your cilantro in the winter? I planted my seeds this summer in a pot.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2008 at 11:55PM
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cloverhouse

I have a cilantro question I hope someone can help with: I was just out looking around in my garden and it looks like my cilantro plants from last summer are still alive and growing. They've been under snowcover for months, but we've had a thaw in the last few days that's uncovered them. I know this happens with parsley, but is cilantro a biennial?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 6:03PM
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