Cilantro’s an easy herb to grow from seed or transplants. This cool-weather annual is a perfect replacement for summer’s basil.

Fall is the perfect time to plant it from seeds or transplants. Plant seeds in October to take over when basil dies back in the first frost.  From seed, it comes up really fast on our cool days and nights. Give newly planted seeds enough water to stay moist until they germinate and grow a bit; then not much water is needed. Plant seeds at two-week intervals to carry them on as long as possible. If temperatures drop below 20°, protect them with row cover.

Its feathery leaves on plants about 12-24″ can be included in your perennial beds or in the vegetable garden. Harvest leaves by simply cutting what you need, but not all the way to the ground. The plant will continue to grow and produce new leaves for your next harvest. Be sure to have several plants so that you’ll have plenty of cilantro all season long. Above 85° or so, cilantro starts to bolt and flower. Keep the flowers around for beneficial insects that will pollinate your summer crops. When the seed heads brown up, harvest them as coriander for the kitchen. Or, completely dry in the house and store in a cool area to plant again next fall.

Full sunlight is fine, but so is a bit of shade, and cilantro isn’t too picky about soil.