One of our favorite herbs is cilantro. Growing this herb has been quite a challenge here in Hawaii. Although the plants itself are available in the nurseries, I took up the challenge to grow them from seeds. There were a few factors to consider. First of all, choose the right seed since the quality of the seed differs from packet to packet. Secondly, determine the right spot in your garden. Growing in pots help determine the best lighting to allow the best growth. Thirdly, the best soil for cilantro was pure compost, although some recommend the use of potting soil. It’s recommended to stay away from clay soil. Lastly, temperature, watering and feeding with the right mix of nutrients are crucial for optimum growth.
Several packets were bought from different stores. The best seed found was located at Home Depot. The Seeds of Change Slow Bolt Cilantro 100% certified organic yielded the best bunch of cilantro. The average time took about a month to grow. So if you like a lot of cilantro, you could start planting every other week depending on your harvest frequency.
Determining the best spot in your garden can be simple. Before you permanently find a place, begin by using large pots in several areas. Cilantro loves a lot of sun, but doesn’t like a lot of heat. Preventing the plant from bolting or flowering will preserve the flavor. The key is keeping the soil about 70 degrees to prevent bolting. Therefore, a large pot with sufficient amount of soil will keep plant cool.
Using compost as the only primary soil seem to work the best. Since Hawaii is mostly clay soil, your best bet is to purchase or make your own compost. This type of soil drains easily and keeps the plant cool.
Remember, this plant loves sunlight, but doesn’t like heat. It is still possible to grow it during the summer like I did. It should at least have the morning sun during the summer and shade afterwards. The best is to grow during the cool season in Hawaii. Although I water my plants in the evening and mist the leaves as well, however, it’s okay to mist leaves in the morning.
As plant food, I use compost tea to revitalize the soil at three weeks or so. Compost tea has the right mix of nutrients to optimize growth.
As far as flavor, my daughter loves cilantro and notices a big difference between store bought and homegrown organic. She notices a sweeter flavor and no aftertaste. Cilantro has a very high antioxidant capacity and has been used in ancient days due to it’s medicinal properties. So far, in our household it’s been a winner. Check out some of our recipes.