Introduction to growing organic Coriander in containers
Coriander is also known as Cilantro, Dhaniya and Chinese parsley. Coriander can be easily grown at home in your gardens and plastic, terracotta pots indoors, directly from seeds. Coriandrum sativum is the botanical name of Coriander. It is an annual aromatic herb with edible leaves and stems. Its seeds are used in many Indian dishes.
A step by step guide to growing organic Coriander in containers
Coriander may be grown in home herb gardens or containers. It needs regular water throughout the garden season and does best in full sun and loose soil amended with organic compost. The plant will bolt quickly in warm temperatures.
Grow Coriander successfully you will need the following;
- Loamy soil, well-drained, with a pH value between 6.5 and 7.0.
- A container with the minimum bottom of 5 inches along with drainage holes
- Your chosen Coriander variety
Soil requirement for growing organic Coriander
Soil happens to be among the most important things for growing Coriander and for that; it’s important to choose the best soil to grow your Coriander. Coriander will always do perfectly in loamy soil, well-drained with a pH value between 6.5 and 7.0. The soil has to be neutral and rich in organic matter and most particularly aged manure or compost as it provides a steady supply of nitrogen among other trace elements and this way promoting vegetative growth. The soil should be crumbly in texture as it is also important to help the plant to grow well.
Growing Coriander in pots organically
Coriander is a fast-growing annual plant that reaches up to 12 to 22 inches in height. With a little extra care and maintenance, Coriander can grow indoors as well as it would grow outdoors.
Follow the below step by step instructions for growing organic Coriander indoors;
Choose a spot for growing organic Coriander in contianers
Pick a spot for your container that exposes the plant to run for at least 4 to 5 hours. Prefer exposing the plant to morning sun as it enjoys a lot of light but not too much heat.
Choosing the pots/containers for growing Coriander
When growing for domestic use, it is best to plant Coriander in pots. Choose a container that is wide and deep. A pot with 18 to 20 inches width and 10 to 12 inches height must be ideal.
Coriander plant spacing
Spacing plays a key role while planting Coriander. The plants become very bushy and if not arranged in properly spaced, they can mess up your garden. While sowing the seeds, make 1-inch deep holes and space them at least 3 inches apart so that they don’t eat into the other plants.
Coriander seed sowing
When sowing the seeds directly in pots, it is important to provide proper spacing. For optimum growth, place your plants at least 3 to 4 inches away from each other. If you are growing from the seedlings, spread them evenly throughout the pot.
Sow Coriander seeds directly in well-drained soil or in a pot filled with soilless potting mix (garden soil is too dense to use in containers). Place Coriander seeds 1/2-inch-deep and about 1 inch away from each other, thinning them to about 6 inches apart before the plants start crowding each other.
When temperatures often stay hot, plants bolt, meaning they quickly flower, set seeds, and begin to die. In warm climates, spring and fall are the best seasons to plant cilantro. To keep a fresh source of Coriander, plant a few seeds every 2 to 3 weeks except in midsummer when it’s difficult to keep plants from bolting.
How to grow organic Coriander
Coriander is an annual herb and does not easily root from cuttings, but it readily produces seeds and self-seeds. So, it’s best to grow cilantro from seeds rather than transplanting it. If you allow your plant to mature, you can harvest the seeds for next season. Because it’s a short-lived plant, if you want a steady supply of Coriander, sow seeds every few weeks to keep a fresh supply of young plants.
The light requirement for growing Coriander in containers
Coriander likes bright indirect light but dislikes intense, direct sunlight. The best option for container gardens is morning sun in an east-facing window or a very bright sill that doesn’t get too much direct sun.
Coriander plant propagation
Growing Coriander in pots is not very difficult. It is pretty easy to propagate these plants from seeds. You just have to crush the seeds lightly, so that they split into halves. You can then sow them directly into a pot. Though, if you wish for faster growth, you can try mixing the split seeds into cow dung or vermicompost and tie them in a damp cloth until you start to see the roots growing. Now transplant these seeds into the desired container.
Coriander seed germination process
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Each Coriander seed has two spheres with a seed on each side. This means that you will often get twice as many sprouts as seeds that you plant, making thinning necessary. Coriander seeds will germinate after 8 to 14 days, based on the moisture levels and outside temperature. Each Coriander plant will be fully mature after 6 to 12 weeks, so to ensure a continuous supply throughout the season, you should plant a small patch every 2 to 3 weeks throughout the growing season.
When stored in a dry, cool place, cilantro seeds are viable for at least 5 years. Sow Coriander seeds directly into the ground. Do not transplant the long taproot is delicate and if damaged, the plant will fail. Sow cilantro seeds 1/2-inch-deep after all danger of frost has passed. Seeds germinate at temperatures ranging from 10 to 29°C with germination generally occurring in 7 to 10 days. When plants emerge, thin them to 8 to 12 inches apart.
Step by step process for growing organic Coriander in containers
Step 1) Coriander crop thrives well in temperatures between 17° to 27°C. Coriander is best sown directly in pots instead of growing them in seed trays and then transplanting the sprouts.
Step 2) You can grow Coriander in full sun and well-drained soil with a pH value of 6.2 to 6.8. Sow the Coriander seeds about ½ to 1 inch deep in the soil. Space the seeds at a gap of about 6 inches. Then, press the soil over the seeds and cover with the half-inch layer of fine mulch. Water them thoroughly.
Step 3) Water the Coriander plants in dry periods. Don’t forget to not over-water the plant to avoid root rot. Good soil drainage is important to ensure healthy root health as Coriander has deep taproots. You can select to buy organic manure at all that grows.
Step 4) Germination of Coriander takes up to 2 to 3 weeks and thin young plants to 20 cm apart to allow them to grow to their full size. To extend the Coriander harvest, frequently snip soft stems, rotating the plant while you harvest.
Organic fertilizer for growing Coriander in containers
If you are interested in growing Coriander organically, you can work some well-rotted manure or compost into the soil before planting. You can also select from a wide variety of organic fertilizer products that are available at your local garden centre. Once the seedlings have reached about 2 inches in height, you can fertilize them with organic fertilizer or compost. Don’t forget to over-fertilize, you only need about 1/4 of a cup for every 25 feet of growing space.
Once the plants have established themselves, they do not require as much water. You should aim to maintain the soil damp, but not soggy, as Coriander is a dry climate herb. Use a liquid fertilizer, or supplement the soil with controlled-release pellets. For organic Coriander, use organic fertilizer with compost. Feed the herb once a month. For fertilizing Coriander leaves, always seek for water-soluble nitrogen fertilizer to provide nutrients to your plants. Keep fertilizing every week throughout the whole growing season but, be curtained that you are never over-fertilizing your herbs to avoid any kind of rottenness or damages.
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Watering Coriander plants
After sowing Coriander seeds, water them gently and continue doing so every day until the seeds germinate. After germination, you can water the plants only when it is necessary. Well-drained soil is always essential for Coriander crop. Ensure that the water doesn’t stand for long hours rotting the roots and damaging the plants.
Coriander plants grow fast and the soil wants to remain moist during the first few weeks of growth. Water them carefully so that no damage is done to the plants and the soil that is covering the root system is not eroded. You can use a jog, watering can, or a sprayer on the end of a hose. Just make sure the water pressure is low enough to avoid harming the plants.
Organic Coriander growing problems
Herbs rarely have serious pest problems. However, keep a close watch for powdery mildew, and if symptoms are found, treat Coriander with the following least-toxic techniques;
- Take away diseased foliage from the plant and clean up fallen debris on the ground.
- Wash foliage occasionally to disturb the daily spore-releasing cycle. Neem oil and PM Wash, used on a 7-day schedule, will prevent a fungal attack on indoor plants.
- Practice a slow-release, organic fertilizer on crops and avoid excess nitrogen. Leafy, soft, new growth is most susceptible.
- Destroy all plant debris after harvest and do not compost.
- Apply copper or sulfur-based fungicides to avoid infection of susceptible plants. For getting the best results, apply early or at the first sign of disease. Spray all plant parts carefully and then repeats the same procedure at 7 to 10-day intervals up to the day of harvest.
If you don’t time it right, cilantro plants can bolt before you have a chance to harvest. To prevent bolting, harvest leaves frequently and keeps the plant shaded and watered. For a season’s worth of cilantro, stagger plantings every 3 to 4 weeks.
Coriander might suffer from root rot. This problem is developed if the roots of the plant become too wet. Hence well-drained soil with mixed sand is imperative for better drainage of the plant. Overwatering can also result in oversaturation of soil and subsequent development of some leaf diseases. The simple precaution that can avoid this will be watering in the day, avoid watering in the evening and don’t overwater the plants.
Organic pests and diseases control in Coriander
Coriander can suffer from some common pests and diseases, though both can be managed easily. Diseases that regularly affect cilantro include bacterial leaf spot, carrot motley dwarf, soft rot, damping-off, and powdery mildew. You can decrease the possibility of disease by avoiding overhead irrigation and not working with the plant while it’s wet.
Pests to watch out for include aphids, including willow-carrot aphid, cutworms, and armyworm and root-knot nematode. If infestations are minor, prune out the pests. Or else, turn to additional management tactics, such as solarizing the soil to reduce nematodes or applying the appropriate insecticides to the infested areas.
Coriander is one of those wonderful garden plants that rarely have problems with diseases and pests. Coriander leaves attract ladybugs and other insect predators that happily snack on aphids and other damaging insects.
The two diseases that can occasionally be a problem are leaf spot and powdery mildew.
Leaf Spot – Small yellow spots that in time turn into large brown spots. It is caused by too much moisture and not enough air circulation, so it can be prevented by growing your cilantro in well-drained soil and not over-watering each plant.
Powdery Mildew – It appears as a white, powdery coating on the coriander leaves during hot, dry periods. You can help to prevent it by keeping your plants from drying out and removing any plant that becomes infected.
How to harvest the Coriander
Harvest Coriander by cutting off individual stems and leaves from the base of the plant, near ground level, when the stems are 4 to 6 inches tall. Use the new, fresh shoots in cooking, not the older, ferny-type leaves which can taste bitter. Don’t cut off more than one-third of the leaves at one time, as this can weaken the plant. Once you have harvested the leaves, the plant will continue to grow for at least 2 or 3 more cycles.
You may use the above information for growing organic coriander in pots, terrace, balcony, and backyard. In case if you are interested in this: Organic Cucumber Farming In Greenhouse.