Our monthly herb picks for 2019 will feature a variety of familiar culinary herbs. Some, like parsley, are such old friends that we overlook a few of their culinary uses. Others, like rosemary, occur in numerous varieties, some better for the cooking pot than others.
Remember that October 1 is informally called “New Year’s Day for Herbs” — because many, if not most, of the featured herbs this year will take kindly to a cool season transplanting. If you are interested in the herbs listed for July and August, putting off transplanting until October might be a good idea.
Cilantro (the Spanish word for “coriander) occurs in many culture’s cuisines and in several varieties, distinguished by the plant’s height and bloom color. Because of its long tradition of use in Chinese cuisine, it can be referred to as Chinese Parsley. In the U.S., for dried seeds, “coriander” is used as a label — with the fresh leafy form called “cilantro.”
Small cilantro plants are best transplanted into larger pots or the garden anytime after October 1 — they’ll be productive throughout the year until the warm spring days arrive — when they will suddenly bolt and bloom. As with parsley (a fellow member of the umbelliferae family), the complex blooms are composed of many tiny individual flowers, great attractors of beneficial insects. Left to produce seeds, these lovely flowers will self-sow and produce young plants again when cool weather rolls around.
Well-draining garden soil, plenty of sun and adequate water, plus a bit of shade for those that last into the hottest months, and periodic fertilizing with a slow-release organic fertilizer such as Arbor Gate Blend will produce plenty of cilantro leaves, without making a trip to the grocery store!