Thursday, August 4, 2011

The weeds you never knew about....

Not that the title suggests, this is not a post about coriander or cilantro being weeds. 

This post is about the happy accidents we encounter in our garden.  We tried herbs right in the main garden patch, but they turned into shrubery.  We tried them in pots, but their roots found their way out of the pot.  Those herbs were anchored to the earth on which they sat.  Last year, we tried herbs in pots again with very little success.  I was about to give up.  As for trial-and-error gardening, its fun but it does present some challenges.  We have the herbs now in the claw foot tub.  Sadly, I added too much peat to the tub and the herbs have had very little moisture retention (Lately we've had plenty of moisture, but it doesn't seem to last very long in the claw foot).

I noticed that my hubbie was weeding the garden, but being selective about it.  He stopped plucking the purslane.  He also stopped picking the random tomatoes that were rising from the compost!  My facebook page will have images of my rows that are quite disturbed with "extras mato plants".  I love the free tomatoes, i love the free plants....but they have a bad habit of  taking over the things we've actually planted in rows.  Especially rogue cherry tomato plants...they get viney!

The white brackets are to show you where the weed was on the purslane pathway to our composter

Hubbie noticed an odd looking weed one day and decided to leave it to see if we could identify it.  A week or so passed before we checked on it again.  The leaves smelled like Thrills gum...or soap...which is a tell-tale sign you've got cilantro growing!  I am not a crazy fan over cilantro, the key ingredient in pico de gallo.  I am, however, a GIANT fan of coriander...which is the seed of the cilantro plant.  We grew it 2 years ago and are still enjoying ground coriander in everything from hummus to fresh caught fish.  I have so much growing accidentally in the garden that I may just start selling it.  Anyone have an in with a supplier of restaurant grinders?  

This year's cilantro is already days will do that to a herb

You can pick the leaves of the cilantro plant up until the hot air forces it to flower.  After that time, the flavour of the leaves is more intense, almost bitter.  

This is just a small close up on the big bush covered with seeds!

Almost a week after we noticed the delicate white flowers emerge, then they started to wither and die off.  The best was yet to come...the flowers die and a small green ball emerges over time.  After the plant starts to die can harvest the balls, now a brownish colour, and grinder away to your hearts content.  It must be the quintessential winter lemon flavour.  For if you want a hint of lemon in a dish when you don't want to send on winter lemons from who knows where...add coriander!

I just love figuring out ways to include more spices in my meals, but this was a happy bonus this year...the cilantro we planted two years ago emerged and now we'll be silly with coriander for years to come.

Now what are we going to do with the cilantro/coriander I planted this year?!?!

What herbs have you tried growing?

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