Grow cilantro and you'll have a fragrant and refreshing herb that can be used as a bold garnish in all kinds of dishes, including tacos, soups and curries. And the flavoring isn't done there - let some of your plants go to seed and you can harvest the seeds, commonly known as coriander, to spice up many more dishes in a variety of cuisines.
Sow cilantro seeds in early spring after your last frost. If your winters are mild and summers extremely hot, you may be better off sowing seeds in fall, as cilantro prefers milder temperatures. Choose your site well; cilantro plants have taproots so they aren't fond of transplanting. Plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep and 2 inches apart in well-drained, light and slightly acidic soil in a sunny or partly shaded location. Plant food isn't as important for cilantro as moist soil and even temperatures. Your cilantro will have better flavor if it's grown in soil amended with nutrient-rich organic material, such as Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Garden Soil.
Your cilantro seeds should germinate in about 14 days. Make sure to keep your cilantro seeds and seedlings evenly moist. Gradually thin the seedlings so you have a plant every 12 inches.
You can start to harvest your cilantro once the plants reach 8 inches in height (left alone, they'll likely grow to 2-3 feet). Harvest the outer leaves first, letting inner leaves continue to grow until they produce flowers and go to seed. Cut the stalks when seedpods begin to turn brown, then hang them upside down in paper bags to catch the seeds for coriander.
Heat dissipates cilantro's flavor, so add the leaves to cooked food just before serving. You can store leaves in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. Or, dry them for later use and a much milder flavor.