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Did you know that the United States and Canada identify Coriander and Cilantro as two distinct parts of the same crop? Meanwhile, European countries typically refer to Coriander as the entire plant. Regardless of which country you are located in, growing Coriander in Aquaponics gardens is a worthwhile task if you want to take your sustainable food ecosystem to the next level.
In this article, we will discuss how you can successfully cultivate Coriander in your own backyard using aquaponics.
Why Grow Coriander in your Aquaponics Garden?
Coriander is an annual herb that is native to Northern Africa, Southern Europe, and Southwestern Asia. Coriander is a member of the Parsley or Apiaceae family, which includes relatives such as carrot, dill, and celery. It is also worth noting that it is one of the world’s oldest herbs documented. The Old Testament of the Bible alluded to Coriander. At the same time, these seeds were likewise discovered in ruins existing as far as 5000 B.C. Top commercial producers of Coriander today are India, Canada, Morocco, and Pakistan.
As mentioned earlier, Coriander and Cilantro are two distinct parts of the same crop. Coriander is the seed of the plant, while Cilantro pertains to its green leaves. Take note that the whole plant, including its roots, is completely edible. You probably come across it in many Indian, Asian, Latin, and European cuisines. Aside from this, the seeds have been known to deliver health benefits.
Cooking With Coriander From Your Garden
Coriander appears as colored tan, round seeds. It is often an ingredient in brining and pickling vegetables. The seeds are hard and difficult to chew, so you will need to toast and ground it before you combine into dishes. You can also dry roast Coriander in your oven or in a pan at a relatively low temperature. Once roasted, crush the seeds in a grinder to obtain your ground Coriander.
In case you don’t have a spice grinder, a mortar and pestle will likewise do the job. Remember, it is vital to toast the seeds first to release its earthy taste. The spice boasts a spicy, citrus, and slightly floral flavor. You will typically find it in curry powders and baked products. Others blend the spice in stews, desserts, and soups. Some include it as a seasoning in bouquet garni or as a flavorful rub in various meats.
Health Benefits of Coriander
Another point to consider is that the value of Coriander extends outside your kitchen. In fact, the spice features notable health benefits that make it a refreshing addition to any diet. Here are some of the health rewards of Coriander.
- Research suggests that Coriander’s extract, oil, and seeds may aid in lowering blood sugar.
- Other studies indicate Coriander’s extract serves as a diuretic. This means it helps your body to remove unnecessary water and sodium. As a result, it may reduce your blood pressure.
- Meanwhile, other research infers that Coriander lessens Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms such as discomfort, abdominal pain, and bloating.
Cultivating Coriander in your Aquaponics Garden
The spice is generally available in most of your local stores. However, as a gardener, you will discover growing Coriander in Aquaponics gardens is relatively simple. Below are guidelines you can follow to cultivate Coriander in your system.
Coriander as a plant is low maintenance. That is to say, you can choose to raise Coriander in a wide range of mechanisms. Growers cultivate the plant in either Deep Water, Media Bed, or Nutrient Film Technique Aquaponic systems. However, the most common methods in raising the plant are Nutrient Film and Media Bed technique.
In case you will cultivate your Coriander in a media bed, Perlite or Coco Peat are the optimal options for the plant. Keep in mind that Coriander does not grow well when transplanting. Thus, consider planting Coriander from seeds.
Coriander dislikes the hot weather. Remember that the plant prefers a cool climate. It does not need the full sun to grow, and roughly 4 to 6 hours of sunlight is enough. During the warm afternoon, provide the plant partial shade.
Since Coriander prefers cool weather, keep in mind that the plant bolts quickly in a hot climate. Thus, to prevent bolting keep your plant at an air temperature around 70°F. In the meantime, the ideal water temperature for Coriander is 65°F to 70°F.
The plant ordinarily grows approximately 18 to 24 inches in height. It is best to provide space between 9 to 12 inches apart to produce healthy yield.
For optimal growth, Coriander prefers a neutral pH range of 6.2 to 6.8. Make sure to use a quality pH Meter.
Growers can harvest mature Coriander seeds roughly 3 months after planting. The seeds are safe to harvest when you see a portion of it changing color from green to gray. Alternately, it is likewise okay to harvest when you notice the seed ripening on the main flower stalk.
Trout is one of the best options to use in the Aquaponic system. This cold-water fish is part of the salmon family and is tolerant to salinity. Growers commonly utilize Rainbow Trout in most commercial systems. Trout is suitable for Aquaponics since the fish can endure saltwater, freshwater, and other marine habitats.
Potential pests that can be an issue with Coriander are Aphids or Whiteflies. These are soft-bodied little insects that feast on plant sap resulting in a delay in plant growth and foliage damage.
Common problems growing Coriander
A typical issue in growing Coriander in Aquaponics gardens is its quick growing cycle. As previously mentioned, this plant often bolts in hot weather. It is best then to avoid cultivating Coriander during summer. Because once the plant bolts, the taste of the spice becomes bitter.
One good workaround to deal with this issue is to apply succession planting. This will entail cultivating Coriander with alternating maturing dates thus giving you a stable supply of the plant.
And lastly, here are a few quick tips we want to share before you start planting.
- Consider soaking your Coriander seeds 24 to 48 hours in water before planting. Doing this will boost the chances of the seeds germinating properly.
- To preserve your seeds, remove the seed head and place it in a paper bag till the Coriander seeds fall off. Once you have your seeds, keep in a sealed container and only grind the spice if you need it for cooking.