Growing Coriander in Mumbai

“I once loved a lass named Sweet Coriander,

But her lack of response, made me meander”

Related Topics: How to Grow, Growing OrganicallyThe Art of Propagation!

This leafing herb is probably the most popular ingredient in Indian cooking. It is a beautiful and fragrant addition to your urban farm!

SEASON: Coriander is a seasonal plant. It is well-suited to temperate climates and does not enjoy growing in Mumbai’s hot summers or tempestuous monsoons. It is best grown during our stable, and slightly cool winters.

PROPAGATING: This plant is propagated from seed and cuttings, but both methods require some diligence and lots of luck.

GERMINATING: Germinate in mid-October so it can be planted out by early November and grow and be harvested all winter. Coriander is best germinated in germination dishes/seeding baskets prepared with a mixture of compost and peat moss. Take a handful of full coriander (non-roasted) shell-seeds and crush them in your hands – enough to puncture their shells but not so that you crush the tiny seeds within. Scatter these seeds over the soil and lightly cover with soil. Place in semi-shade and spray water evenly. Spray your sown seeds daily until seedlings emerge in 7-15 days.

PLANTING OUT: Coriander saplings are extremely fragile and its best to scoop out attached soil carefully when you transplant, or keep growing them in the seeding basket itself. You could however use the planting-out technique for fresh coriander stalks obtained from the grocery store. Trim off the tops of these plants and plant them in bunches for mutual support, along with their roots, and water well. Your planted out cuttings need to be spaced about 4 inches apart to allow room for growth. While coriander will flourish in mildly acidic, neutral or mildly alkaline soil, it does insist on very well-drained soil with high aeration that will allow its tender roots passage. Coriander is best grown in broad containers so plants can self-seed and grow young ones around them.

NURTURING: Coriander stems, like its roots, are thin and fragile – and so they are prone to damage. Always use a water spray instead of a watering can, and protect  your  coriander plants from birds and other pests by staking the space around and between your plants, or covering with a wire mesh. Your plants will grow to maturity in 2 months. They need the outdoors for pollination and self seeding to take place. Water regularly.

HARVESTING: Harvest coriander at early and mid-growth by regularly cutting off large leaves at stem to allow re-growth in its place. Once it is fully grown, allow it to go to seed. It will then spread its mature seeds for you in the soil nearby, so new plants will come up with less effort needed from you! Once spent, older plants can be uprooted and composted, the soil replenished, and the space used for growing fruiting or rooting veggies next.

© Mumbai Farmer 2014. Do not copy in part or whole without prior written permission from the author. Infringement of copyright will render you liable for legal action.

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