Coriander, also known as Dhania, is a green herb that belongs to the Apiaceae family. It is an annual plant that grows upright and reaches a height of 40-60cm. In Kenya, coriander is cultivated in both warm and cold regions. It is popular for its flavorful leaves, which are used to season food and salads, as well as its pungent seeds that are processed into spices and curry powder.

Coriander Varieties in Kenya

In Kenya, various types of coriander are grown:

1. Cilantro: This variety has flat toothed leaves and is sometimes called spiny coriander.
2. Seed coriander: Grown specifically for its seeds.
3. Leaf Cilantro: Resembles parsley and has a strong, sharp smell.
4. Vietnamese coriander: Characterized by narrow, smooth-edged, and darker leaves.

Ecological Requirements

For coriander to thrive, it requires specific environmental conditions:

  • Temperature – Coriander prefers a temperature range of 18-25 degrees Celsius for germination and growth. Extreme cold or hot temperatures are not suitable.
  • Soil – It grows well in well-drained loam and sandy-loam soils with a pH range of 6-8. The soil should also be rich in organic matter.
  • Sunlight – During germination, coriander requires only a few hours of sunlight per day. However, once it starts producing leaves, it needs 5-6 hours of sunlight.

Growing Coriander

When it comes to growing coriander, propagation is done using seeds. Here are the steps involved:

1. Garden preparation

  • Choose a flat site that hasn’t had any crops from the same family as coriander for 3-6 months.
  • Spray the land with CLAMPDOWN (200ml/20l) to eliminate weeds.
  • Prepare the soil by creating a fine texture. Mix soil with manure and DAP (a type of fertilizer) to enhance root development and nutrient uptake. Incorporate 1 ton of manure, 50kg of DAP, and 1kg of HUMIPOWER for optimal results.
  • Create planting beds of approximately 1m * 5-10m and make rows.
  • Water the beds.
  • Drench the soil with a mixture of PYRAMID (100g) + LOYALTY (10g) + OPTIMIZER (20ml) in 20l of water. This helps control soil pests, diseases, and promotes uniform germination.

2. Planting

  • Soak the seeds in OPTIMIZER (20ml/1l) for 6-12 hours to improve germination.
  • Drill the seeds in rows, 2-4cm deep, and 10cm apart.
  • Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
  • Water the seeds lightly.
  • Add a thin layer of dry grass as mulch.
  • Germination usually occurs within 1-2 weeks.

Once the seedlings start to germinate, remove the mulch.

Pests and Disease Control

To control pests and diseases, the following measures can be taken:

Pests

  • Aphids: Spray the crop with PENTAGON (10ml/20l) or KINGCODE ELITE (10ml/20l) to eliminate aphids and prevent the growth of sooty mold.
  • Cutworms: Drench the soil with Profile (60ml/20l) or Pentagon (20ml/20l) to control cutworm infestation.
  • Armyworms: Spray the crop with Kingcode Elite (10ml/20l) or Pentagon (10ml/20l) to combat armyworms.
    Root knot nematodes: Drench the soil with Alonze (6ml/20l) or mix fertilizer (50kg) with Adventure (2kg) during basal application to tackle nematode infestation.

Diseases

  • Damping off: Drench the soil with PYRAMID (100g/20l) to prevent damping-off disease.
  • Powdery mildew: Spray the crop with RANSOM (15g/20l) or CHARIOT (20ml/20l) to control powdery mildew infection.
  • Soft rot: Spray the crop with GREENCOP (100g/20l) to address soft rot bacterial disease.

Nutrition & Nutritional Deficiencies

To ensure proper nutrition and prevent nutrient deficiencies, the following fertilizers can be used:

  • Foliar fertilizers
  • OPTIMIZER (10ml/20l): Provides essential macro and micro elements, boosts plant immunity, and manages stress.
  • GOLDCHANCE RANGE (50g/20l): Supplies nutrients based on the crop’s growth stage. Examples include Goldchance Super Start for early growth stages.
  • LAVENDER (20ml/20l): Essential for early and vegetative growth stages.

Additionally, basal fertilizers like CAN (top dressing) should be applied, mixed with HUMIPOWER at a rate of 50kg:1kg.

Weed Management

Weed management is crucial to ensure the success of coriander cultivation. Weeds compete with the crop for resources and harbor pathogens. HOTLINE (50ml/20l) can be used to eliminate weeds once the crop is established.

Maturity, Harvesting & Storage

When it comes to maturity, harvesting, and storage:

  • Coriander plants are typically ready for harvest after 25-35 days, although maturity may vary depending on the variety.
  • The fresh leaves and dried seeds are the most commonly used parts.
  • Leaves can be plucked individually or the entire plant can be pulled, depending on the intended use.
  • Fresh coriander can be dipped in water or refrigerated to prevent wilting.
  • The seeds can be processed into various forms, such as curry powder.

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