May 26, 2020
I am proud of how well my garden is growing. My tomatoes and peppers are all over the first rung of their cages and my cilantro filled the entire pot. We have a friend who has a large garden with raised beds rather than containers. They came by over the weekend and I was excited to show them how well my containers were working. I mentioned I had already harvested some of my cilantro and was expecting to continue to do so. She looked at the plants and told me they were about to bolt.
I had assumed cilantro was like other herbs and I could continue to harvest off and on throughout the year, even bringing it inside to last over the winter. Apparently, that is not the case. When the plants flower or bolt they shift all their energy from growing leaves to producing seeds. Worse yet, once this happens the rest of the plant becomes bitter. There are ways to delay the bolt by harvesting the outer leaves and pinching back the stems, but when the weather gets warm, they will bolt none the less.
I looked online for what to do when cilantro bolts. The answer, “Get Coriander!” I also looked up what to do with the large amount of the leafy herb I was soon going to lose. The suggestions ranged from freezing it, to canning it in a variety of ways (like the salsa I planned on making), to drying the plants. Drying seemed the most practical. I could do this in the oven or find a cool, non-humid (in Arkansas?) location to hang it until It was processed. I decided to hang it on the back of my green screen in my office. At least next year I will know what to expect.
THOUGHTS: Anytime we face a new challenge there is a huge learning curve to find out what we need to know. I am finding this to be true for my garden, and it will also be true for the pandemic. No one knows what to expect concerning corona virus, but it is assumed it will behave like viruses of a similar class. That means like the flu, we will be caught seasonally facing a slightly mutated strain that may or may not be affected by the vaccine we ultimately create. The virus is world-wide and has nearly every country working on a vaccine and protocols for how to treat those who contract it. We have already learned much, and when it returns, we will been in a better position to know what to expect. If you venture out, stay safe.