Growing Coriander in The Northern Territory
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, but 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.
Too much water will kill your coriander. It’s best to plant your coriander early in the dry season, so that you can control how much water it’s getting. The rainfall of the wet season is not kind to a coriander seedling.
Work in some compost and well-rotted manure. Coriander likes a rich, moist soil.
If you want to make the most of the short growing season; sow indoors or in a protected spot towards the end of the wet-season, so that your seedlings will be ready to plant out once the dry season starts. Alternatively, wait until the rains are over and plant seeds directly into garden beds.
Coriander is easy to germinate if the temperature is right. 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.
Plant out as soon as the weather cools and the worst of the rains are over.
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.
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 sweltering heat. 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.