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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Going Downhill

Things are not going well for the Hayley Herb garden.

A reminder: here are our baby cilantro plants on May 10th:

Here are our cilantro plants nine days later:

What's going wrong? Too much sun? Too many thunderstorms? The curse of the red pot?

Thoughts, advice and good luck charms welcome in the comments.


  1. 'bout just going to the grocery store and buying your salad greens! Do those red pots have a drainage hole?

  2. 'nuther tip -

    "Cilantro is an herb that actually provides two different harvests. When you harvest and use the foliage, it it called cilantro. When it flowers and goes to seed, you can gather and dry the seeds. The seeds are a spice called coriander.

    Cilantro should be direct sown from seed. It develops a large, long taproot that could be damaged during transplanting, so it is preferable to always plant it from seed directly into its home container. Since it has this long taproot, it needs a fairly deep container, so you should plant cilantro in a pot that is at least 8 inches deep, and 10-12 inches would not hurt. It grows to 8-12 inches wide, so a fairly wide pot would help, also.

    Seeds should be sown directly into containers in early spring. They should be planted in a very shallow hole, and should be covered with about one half inche of potting mix that is packed down lightly. They should germinate in approximately two weeks, as long as the soil is around 60 degrees F. When they reach 4 or 5 inches in height, thin them to a few inches apart.

    Cilantro needs a lot of sunlight. It should be grown in a sunny spot outdoors, or on the sunniest windowsill you can manage. Cilantro has succulent foliage, so it needs a lot of water. You should water it regularly, and often.

    Cilantro goes to seed very easily, so be sure to harvest it early. To harvest cilantro, simply snip the stems off at the soil level. If you want a continuous harvest of cilantro, you should make small sowings of it every couple of weeks. Once you've harvested all of a plant, tear it out and use the same pot to sow more.

    Any variety of cilantro will work fine, but if you are more interested in the leaves than the seeds, look for "nonbolting" varieties. If you wish to harvest the seeds for coriander, any variety will do."

  3. Nita gave you lots of good advice. I personally would seed it outside directly into well-prepared soil (you can bring it inside in a pot for the season when it may freeze). You do need to keep it watered. If you have it in a pot, as mentioned before, it needs a drainage hole and frequent waterings, daily if outside in the sun.

  4. So I'm thinking my problems at this point are:
    1. Too small of pots. I do have larger ones in the garage that I can use.
    2. My current pots do not have drainage holes. The larger ones do.
    3. I started from seedlings. I'll try again with seeds.

    We don't really have any good beds at this point to directly seed into the ground. That's a project we plan to tackle this fall and next spring. (Though we don't want to do too much, knowing that sometime in the next 4-5 years we're completely revising the landscape.)

  5. I tried cilantro too, and it failed. I was told that managing to grow your own cilantro is rather rare - it's so sensitive. So... I gave up trying and remained happy with my parsley, rosemary, and thyme. :)

  6. That will be sad news, indeed. Cilantro was the one herb I was really hoping to have. I'm going to give it another shot before I concentrate on rosemary and dill.