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Coriander all season herb

Coriandrum sativum

Originally from the Ukraine or Turkey, Coriander or Cilantro has been welcomed by every culture it has touched, especially the Indian sub-continent.
Also known, for some odd reason, as Chinese Parsley.

You can quite comfortably sow Coriander at any time of year but you must keep in mind that it does not respond well to drying out at any time of it’s growth cycle.
Basically, if you are growing it at home and can maintain it you will not have any problems with it ‘bolting’ to seed too early unless you just forget to water it.
Part shade, especially in the afternoons will slow it down and allow for more robust growth of the plant.

Coriander is an excellent forage plant for bees, especially Australian Native bees but as the flowers are self fertile, that is simply an added bonus.
Unfortunately harvest of the seed is a tricky business as they never seem to mature at the same rate.
Green seed has a rather unpleasant aroma (hence, ‘koris’ Greek for ‘stinking bug’ ) and is not great for cooking at this stage, so you are best not to shake the seed from the umbels until they are on the brown side of khaki in colour.
Whether you are harvesting the seed for growing or for cooking it is always wise to ensure they are thoroughly dry so don’t pop them into a sealed container for a week or so after harvesting.

Of the two major types of Coriander, the round light brown seeds are European Coriander and the golden oval shaped seeds are the Indian version of the plant.
Both types are wonderfully heirloom as the herb has been cultivated and traded for thousands of years.
The two types will probably not cross pollinate in the same garden and any new plants will just revert to either one or the other rather than a perfect combination.

The fresh young leaves are excellent in everything from salads to stews but the seeds can be used with fruit (baked, stewed or preserved), fish and other meats including sausages and vegetable dishes, curries, breads, biscuits and cupcakes and will even lend their warm, aromatic signature to oatmeal porridge, pickles, ratatouille and many liqueurs.
Pungent, freshly chopped young roots are essential in much Thai cuisine.

On the medicinal front Coriander has a long history as a mild sedative and a digestive aid to soothe flatulence and ease migraines as well as the popular use of the essential oil in massage oils for facial neuralgia and muscle cramps.
Commercially it is widely used in toothpaste and perfumes.

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Growing Black Pepper

While it is well known that Black Pepper thrives in the tropics, most problems that arise when attempting to grow the plant in Australia come from growers trying to re-create the tropics for their plants.
This leads to more problems than it could possibly solve. Too much water is a major problem, especially during the cooler seasons.
Pipers love a dry ‘winter’ season and everywhere south of Cairns will experience this time period.
Growth slows to a halt and, during this time the plants are at their weakest.
They also love to have air circulating around and between plants. Hothouse and tunnel growers face the breeze production problem, but without it many fungus and bacteria problems can arise.
In Australia, direct sun is also an issue. Shade must be provided directly above, and to the west of the plants.

Historically, growing the climber commercially has been done using trees, logs or bark constructs, but we have found that the most successful method of support that allows for excellent aerial root establishment and secure footings for bud and flower formation is to create columns from ‘snake and rodent’ mesh filled with ‘coir’. The columns can be constructed at a diameter that suits the grower, from 45cm to 10cm. Vertical posts are essential to keep the column perpendicular and make it easy enough to create a bottom layer with the intention of adding more as the plants require the height.
As the plants extend their lateral growth, the stems can easily be attached to the mesh for support until they attach themselves.

We have found it more convenient to train the plants to grow around the column in a spiral form as their nature is too haphazard to be reliable.

It is essential to remember that the flowers are ‘rain’ pollinated and need no insect intervention.
To this end, irrigation should be placed above the plants if consistent rain is not likely.

(Left) Fresh Pepper harvest.

Our Black Pepper potted plants are usually available by late Spring each year.