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I used to be able to grow coriander and it was always quite prolific. The last couple of years however it has bolted (?) very quickly before I've had any time to enjoy it. (I think that's the word) well the new leaves come through very fine and wispy and there are little flower buds on them. I was wondering if these leaves are edible and if there is anything I can do to have the thick flat leaves back?
I'm not really sure Figrat. On the packet of seeds (I'm translating from French – correctly, I hope) it says coriander cultivated then in a little bubble it says aromatic and condiment. Although funnily enough it does say sow March or April then use it July, August and September but mine is ready already. The picture shows a profusion of big leaves at the bottom, the finer frissy ones I described at the top and pink flowers. At the bottom of the picture is a scattering of seeds. But would they sell packets of seeds for people to grow to make more seeds? Or is that a (another) stupid question
The make is Le Paysan just in case that helps.
I might be wrong, but I don't think there are two sorts, figrat. Cilantro is the American term for the leaves and they apply the name coriander to the seeds. Elsewhere, in English anyway, it's all coriander.
My wife loves the stuff. I've grown about 40 plants for her and the early ones are already bolting. And I used a variety that claims to be bolthardy. They say soil temperature is the key to the bolting. Keep the soil temp down and you can prolong the plant's life. I keep ours in the shade and well watered.
I had a few successful years here in the same area west of Paris Figrat. The only difference is that before I would grow it on the windowsill and now I grow it in the conservatory - which may tie in with what you are saying Italophile, it could be too hot? I assumed wrongly that herbs loved heat - so in fact it is good news for me - I can easily find a more shaded area - should that be inside or out? However, can I still eat the bolted leaves or would they tend to upset the stomach? I could eat coriander with everything
Thank you both for your help.
The bolted leaves won't hurt you, Lavande, they'll just lack their usual taste. Coriander isn't one of the heat-lovers. Quite the contrary. I'd give them dappled light, keeping the soil as cool as possible. And water seems to help to keep the soil cool.
My favourite way to eat stir-fry chicken is with crushed coriander seeds of which I mix in lashings with only a tiny pinch of salt and pepper.
I can't get enough of coriander and grow it every year in my garden for the salad leaf, the beautiful flowers and that scent which I adore and they will keep going all the while you deadhead it
Yes, deadheading helps. I've been doing it with the massive crop I've grown for my wife. Eventually, though, they can't resist bolting.
I have deadheaded them and put them outside (in their pots?) where they will get dappled shade. I love it in stir fries too Wintersong - well I love it in everything - I've never let it reach the stage where I have had seeds. I have lots of plants so I think I'll keep the bulk dead headed and let some bolt for the flowers and the seeds. Italophile - when you say massive crop for your wife (who must adore you for that) do you mean you grow it in the ground?
No, Lavande, I grow it in pots. Lots of pots. I'm in central Italy, got a three-terrace garden, loads of stone walls, nothing remotely approaching shade, so it's like an oven. Coriander wouldn't last ten minutes. I keep the pots on the terrace under the covered pergola with plenty of water.
She thanks me profusely!
BTW, she read somewhere that you can freeze the leaves so she is trying it this year. Harvest the leaves in bulk, wrap them very very tightly, as tightly as possible, removing all the air, in plastic wrap. It should look like a sausage. And freeze it. She just checked on the first batch. The leaves are stiff but retain all their aroma, and, presumably, taste. We'll find out!
I suspect the secret is not to wash the leaves first. You'd never get them completely dry and ice would form, turning the leaves mushy.
I have some coriander plants that appeared as seedlings from last year's compost heap. I left them in place where possible, and now, like you, I have big tall plants with feathery leavesand flower-heads appearing. The leaves are stilll fine to use, but the tallest of the plants has just fallen over in the wind and the stem is partly snapped, so it will be returning to the compost heap soon. I suppose I should have dead-headed them. But thanks for the tip about freezing, Italophile, it's worth a try.
I am hoping that a couple of the plants will go to seed, because you can dry the seed and use it as a spice, like the seeds you buy, and also in the hope of sowing some of the seed for next year. I may even get some to germinate later in the summer, when I think they're less likely to bolt.