Growing your own vegie garden is one way to save money on your weekly grocery shop. It's a really great feeling of satisfaction to eat something you have grown with your own hands. You can buy your seedlings at extreme prices from Bunnings- but why bother when starting your own vegie garden for free is a simple task of collecting seeds as this seasons crops die, and waiting for the right time of the year to plant them again.
Gardenate is a free web site that shows you what month is the best to sew seeds, plant seedling, and harvest your crop.
Thanks to Gardenate I finally got a corriander plant to thrive. I had been buying seedlings again and again but they always seemed to die as soon as I put them in the ground. Gardenate showed me that in sub-tropical areas like Brisbane, Coriander needs to be planted in cooler temperatures.
Coriander is dying in the Brisbane heat right now- but it's the perfect time collect the seeds. If you want to start your own garden, now is the time to raid the herb gardens of your friends and family for the lovely seed clusters that form a few weeks after the white/pink flowers start blooming.
|Coriander seeds from my garden- so pretty it makes me want to get my watercolours out and paint them....|
Pop the dried seeds and stems in a brown paper bag and forget about them until they dry out- the drying out should only take about 3-4 weeks. If you live in Brisbane, planting time for your hand picked seeds is next year, in April/May as Coriander grows best during the cooler weather of autumn, winter and early spring- mark that shit up on your calendar for real.
Another great reason to harvest the seed is for cooking- freshly harvested coriander seeds are an instant party in your mouth. Check out this post by Thyme For Food on the flavour experience of eating your own home grown coriander seeds. If you intend to eat your own seeds, the process of shaking the seeds off the stems is a bit laborious but well worth it.
"The seeds I harvested compared to the seeds I bought were worlds apart. The harvested seeds are complex... After you taste the cilantro, then the coriander, your nose and mouth are finally filled with a pleasant aroma of fresh lemon peel without the bitterness. The results amazed me, the taste being so different."
-Thyme For Food
Last night I used my own coriander seeds to make Chicken with Grilled Capsicum and Mango Salsa. It was possibly the most orgasmic meal I have ever had the pleasure of eating- better even than eating at the International House of Pancakes (but I do like that the IHOP website has a fun 101 Ways To Have A Good Day feature).
I used this recipe from Taste.com.au, but tailored it to suit what ingredients I had on hand. The chicken was baked with a Tandoori Rub, the grilled Yellow Capsicum was served with just a grinding of Maldon Salt, and the Mango Cucumber and Lime Juice Salsa was sensational with the last of the coriander leaves, some fresh mint and a light grinding of my own Coriander Seeds. I don't care if you were floating on moon clouds with Iggy Pop while Tom Waits serenaded you with all his food themed songs (Night Hawks At The Dinner, Eggs and Sausage, Ice Cream Man, Coffee and Cigarettes, Chocolate Jesus etc) last night, you better believe me when I say you missed out by not eating dinner at my place.
Nothing beats vegies and herbs fresh from the garden!