Fenton Friday: Cilantro Stand-off

By Kelly Zheng

The smell of cilantro (corainder) has always intrigued me. It smells so pleasant and adds such flavor to dishes, especially Mexican food. I was happy I was able to grow my own this semester. I grew two different types: 'Long Standing' and 'Slow-bolt'. I planted the 'Slow-bolt' first and then the 'Long Standing' a few weeks later because of the different seed packet instructions. Whether the brand or the timing played a role or not, the 'Slow-bolt' grew more than the 'Long Standing'. I had to re-seed both of them once as well.

After re-seeding, weeding, and watering, I saw 'Slow-bolt' cilantro emerge within weeks. I was able to harvest some last week and used them in chicken tacos. It felt surreal that I grew an herb, as it tasted like store-bought (#beginnergardener). The 'Long Standing' was just making progress then, and fortunately, I was able to harvest some also yesterday. Even though the 'Slow-bolt' was taller with larger leaves, the 'Long Standing' was starting to catch up. I also harvested more of the 'Slow-bolt' to compare the two.

Both 'Slow-bolt' and 'Long Standing' cilantro leaves looked identical. When I tried them by themselves, they tasted basically the same, too. They also smelled the same. I was hoping for an actual difference, whatever that might have been, but I was also happy they tasted the same. This meant I did not have to favor one over the other. I mixed and chopped both of them together and added them to another round of chicken tacos! And they added great flavor as expected.

How is your vegetable garden growing this week?

About Fenton Friday: Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 6th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

About the Author: Kelly Zheng is a junior multiplatform journalism major, with a minor in technology entrepreneurship, at the University of Maryland, College Park. This spring semester, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.
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