Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cilantro (Coriander) and Parsley Going to Seed

We have herbs going to seed!


Our cilantro bolted almost as soon as the seeds germinated in mid April.  I think it was just too hot for them this spring.  Three and a half very long months later, we finally have some seeds that are turning brown

Parsley - still mostly green flower heads

Parsley - these are brown, probably almost harvest-ready?

We had both curly and flat leaf parsley planted next to each other, and now I can't tell which flower heads are from which plants.  I've read that they readily cross-pollinate with each other, so I guess these seeds will give me some sort of hybrid curly-flat leaf parsley next year.

For those of you who have harvested herb seeds before, how do you know when they are ready to be picked?  Are they ready as soon as they turn brown?  I don't want to run the risk of them not being "ripe" enough by harvesting too early, but I'm also worried that they might all fall off one day while I'm not looking.


meemsnyc said...

That is such a bummer that your cilantro bolted so quickly. Maybe you can grow them in your grow box.

We've been picking the tomatoes when they are starting to turn color because we have squirrels that are getting into our garden. The tomatoes turn ripe on our window sill in one day. So we rather rescue the fruit before they get eaten by critters.

thyme2garden said...

meemsnyc, I was actually just thinking earlier this week that I should try growing cilantro in our grow box, and just treat it like lettuce. Great minds think alike! And it makes perfect sense that you would pick your tomatoes earlier to protect them from the squirrels. You know, before I started gardening, I had NO IDEA there were so many different kinds of bugs, pests and critters that get into our garden goodies. But I'm definitely learning now!

Momma_S said...

Beautiful seed. My coriander took *forever* to get to harvesting stage. You'll be able to remove the seed pods when the are mostly brown, like in your picture. Here's a neat video on one way to do that:
Be sure to get the pods out of the garden before they "pop."

Cilantro doesn't like heat, so it probably wouldn't do well in your grow box... You could always try starting it at the end of summer to try getting some of the herb through the fall. Maybe even grow it in a pot that can be inside through the end of summer, and outside through fall (they don't take well to transplanting).

Robin said...

My first planting of cilantro bolted due to the heat. So, I am using that for coriander as well. I have mine hanging in the basement until I get the time to harvest the seeds. I also planted more cilantro in a pot and put it in a shady place. It is doing far.

I have never let my parsley go to seed. I keep it cut back and either use it or dry it for the winter. It will continue to grow after you trim it.

The Idiot Gardener said...

I lost my corriander and dill very early, but I'm hanging out for the seeds. I guess I had better watch for the pods to brown up a bit. I didn't think about them going 'pop'.

thyme2garden said...

Momma_S - thank you for the link to the video. I'll take a look and figure out how to harvest the seeds. I might just have to try a cilantro experiment in the grow box and see how it goes.

* * * * *
Robin - I'll have to try that with parsley next time. I was away from home a lot this spring and didn't have a chance to keep up with regular cuttings. Thanks for the tips!

thyme2garden said...

TIG - this is my first time trying to collect herb seeds, so I also didn't think about the pods going "pop." I did see my poppy flower seed pods doing that, is that why they are called poppies? :)

kitsapFG said...

Cilantro always bolts to seed on me very fast. It really wants to produce seed and does not linger in the vegetative mode very long. I had never saved the herb seeds (only harvested dill and coriander for seasoning/spice purposes not for replanting). Honestly, I should hang onto some of the dill seed for replanting now that I think about it. Have to go check my variety to see if it is an open pollinated variety or an F1 hybrid.

thyme2garden said...

kitsapFG, I think you're right, because it seemed like my cilantro was in a hurry to germinate and grow only big enough so that it could bolt. I didn't even think the possibility of these herbs being hybrids!

Dan Owen said...

I'm not sure about the cilantro seed, but I did collect dill seed earlier this month. When the seeds began to torn brown, I just ties a small plastic bag over a branch that had a lot of seeds. Then, I waited for some to start falling off after which I cut the stem and brought the whole shebang inside. Note: Next spring, some of this seed will then be used to make a new batch of plants. Cool!

Momma_S said...

@Dan~ Putting a plastic bag over the browing seeds is a great idea! Then you don't have to worry about them "popping" and losing the seeds in the soil...

Anonymous said...

I like Dan’s advice also. That is a great way to save seeds. Most of the herb seeds are ready when turn brown and when are easily removed from the plant.
Good luck with saving seeds!

thyme2garden said...

vrtlarica - thank you! I started cutting the brown seeds off from the plants. Hopefully they will germinate into new plants next season!

Erin said...

Thyme, hello! So glad I got some time to stop by your blog today, I have been meaning to for a couple of weeks! Great garden and lovely photos. Try bending your parsley over a paper towel and shaking those heads, see if any seeds fall off readily. I've been battling that cilantro thing all summer, they always bolt right when I need them for salsa LOL! I'm thinking I may try to grow it indoors next summer.

thyme2garden said...

Erin - thank you so much for stopping by today! I'll try the shake-and-test method for the parsley heads, that's a great idea. I just started some cilantro seeds in our indoor grow box this weekend, so we'll see if they grow. Hopefully, you can get your cilantro going indoors next year so you can have them whenever you want for making salsa.

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