Picking an indoor favorite – Cilantro
Easy indoor planting can be done with hardy herbs, and a kitchen favorite is Cilantro/Coriander. Several names have been given to the regal plant – Coriander, the most common is Cilantro, which is the herbal form of the leaves of the plants. Most seed packets will list the popular culinary herb as Coriander/Cilantro or vice verse. The Herb also known as Chinese Parsley is widely used in Hispanic culinary dishes and adds a wonderful spicy note to soups, salads, poultry and fish.
Planting Cilantro is quite easy and it is a rugged grower that once has sprouted will grow easily in most locations as long as it has good warm light and ample water supplies, but not too much. The soil needs to be able to drain, as standing water on the surface will rot the stem of your plants. Cilantro can be planted in pots and set in sunny locations that receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day.
Preparing your indoor garden location for growing Cilantro.
Kitchen herbs are known for the ability to be grown in small pots on a window sill but in cooler climates, many may put plastic over their windows or not have enough room in the window for stable gardening. Finding open locations free of dust and traffic is optimal and for colder locations with heavy winters, placing a garden matt over an unused heater vent in front of a window can create the optimum growing environment for kitchen herbs. Make sure the vent is closed so that the plants do not receive too much heat or plastic garden mats are not in danger of melting or warping when you are growing cilantro indoors.
Items needed for Indoor Planting
- Lg Plastic or Clay Pots and Potting Soil - A mixture of fresh garden soil and potting soil can be used, make sure it has good draining capacity and is not too dense if using heavy clay soils.
- Garden Matt and spray bottle- The mat pictured is actually a Boot mat purchased at Menard’s for $1.50, it is shallow and will retain water as well keep pots from leaking onto floor areas and carpets.
- Scissors, seeds, fork and scotch tape - These are self-explanatory and remaining seeds in packet can be taped to the pot, to reserve seed storage and identify sprouts if planting several items at once.
Prepare the soil and add your seeds according to the package directions. For growing cilantro in pots, arrange 12 seeds with 4 to 6 inches of spacing from each seed and pot walls. Seeds should be ¼ in. deep in the soil and the first days of watering should be gentle by using a spray bottle to mist the surface soil. Once sprouts begin to show, heavier watering can assume. Keep soil very moist for first 2 weeks and a clear bag can be placed over the top of the pot to keep the environment humid and moisture from escaping. Germination for cilantro is only 7 to 10 days and they will reach 20 to 28 in. at their peak growth cycle.
Cilantro can be harvested as early as leaves begin to form and during any time of the growing season. Leaving a few shoots to flower will give you more free seed to replant, and to use as seasoning for Coriander. Using Cilantro fresh offers the best flavor and is often added to recipes at the end of the cooking time to reserve flavor. Drying cilantro is the most common form of preservation but making a paste and freezing holds flavor better than drying methods.