Growing Coriander in Western Australia
Grown for their leaves and seeds, these annual herbs are a multipurpose addition to the veggie garden. They do best in moderate weather and are inclined to bolt in hot or dry conditions. Time them right, and they’ll be easy to grow and ready to harvest in no time. There are slow-bolt varieties available which are better suited to the Australian climate. Most of them have a slightly different texture or taste, but are definitely worth trying.
Coriander will bolt in the heat of summer. So, if you’re growing it for its leaves, then you need to plant it in autumn and early spring. This way it’ll be ready do harvest before the heat of the Western Australian summer is at its worst.
Work in some compost and well-rotted manure. Coriander likes a rich, moist soil.
For a leaf crop, plant coriander in autumn and early spring. If it’s the seeds you’re after, then you can plant right into summer. Succession planting is really important if you want to extend the harvest and have a constant supply or young, fresh leaves. Sow seeds every 3 to 6 weeks.
Coriander is easy to germinate if the temperatures right. If you’re starting them during winter or summer, then they’ll need to be started indoors or in a greenhouse, but during the more temperate seasons, they’ll easily germinate in garden. Simply plant them and then keep them well watered. Coriander bolts easily if it feels stressed. If the young seedlings dry out, they don’t usually develop into vigorous plants and will bolt to seed.
Coriander grows much better from seed, because it doesn’t like to have its roots disturbed. If you decide to plant seedlings, be careful not to disturb their roots too much when you plant them out.
Try to plant bought seedlings as soon as possible after you get them home and remember to give them a good, deep watering to help them settle in. When you plant your seedlings out, add a small amount organic bone-meal to each hole. Bone-meal gives seedlings a great start and helps them to develop strong root systems to support a healthy plant.
Harvest regularly from your plants to encourage more bushy, vigorous growth and pick off seeds if they start to develop if it’s the leaves you’re after.
Coriander plants need to be kept moist when first planted. Once the plants are established, don’t keep the soil too damp. They need regular watering, but don’t like to sit in wet soil. If you’re growing them over winter, make sure to plant them in well-draining soil.
Feed with a balanced organic fertilizer, compost tea, or a fish-emulsion every 4 weeks.
Mulch coriander well to keep moisture in the soil and protect it from the worst cold in winter and the sweltering heat in summer. An organic mulch like lucerne, sugarcane and pea-straw will work well.
Harvest leaves from the outside of the plant first. Use scissors, or your fingers to pick or cut the leaves away. Always be sure to leave enough leaves growing on the plant, so that your plant will remain strong and healthy.
The seeds can be harvested and eaten at any stage, but wait until they’re brown if you want to store them.