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Cilantro — how we grow it

Cilantro is one of our most popular herbs in the summer. This is how we grow it.

We seed it in 1020 trays in soilless media and place it on a shelf in a warm area to germinate.

Seeded cilantro in the process of germinating.

We wait until the majority of plants have roots and shoots showing (the ones in the picture below have a couple of days to go before being put out).

Germinating cilantro, nearly ready for the production house.

We put it on benches in the greenhouse so they can start to make use of the sun (and they will turn green).

This cilantro has been on the bench for about 1 week.

The bench waters the trays from underneath so that we get minimal water on the leaves (water on the leaves risks causing disease on the plants).

cilantro just getting it's first true leaf.
This cilantro has been out on the bench for nearly 2 weeks. Most plants have 1 true leaf at this point.

After its 3rd week (4th week in winter) in the greenhouse it is ready to harvest.

harvestable cilantro
Cilantro just before harvest. This has been growing in the greenhouse for 3-4 weeks (depending on the time of year).

We harvest cilantro by hand and bag it in the greenhouse.

We add air to the bags to protect the cilantro and label it.

We put it in the fridge because the quicker we cool it the longer it lasts after we cut it. Taking ‘field heat’ off the plant is one of the critical factors in lengthening shelf life for the product.

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Pirate bugs!

Pictures of orius (minute pirate bug) on eggplant. www.floatinggardens.ca
From top left, clockwise. Minute Pirate Bug (orius), bottle of Minute pirate bugs, a plant in the eggplant row that we are treating with orius.

Introducing minute pirate bug (aka. orius).

Our biggest pest in the greenhouse this year are tiny insects called thrips. Thrips will attack pretty much anything in the greenhouse but are particularly fond of cucumbers and nasturtium.

We use several other invertebrates to fight the thrips. Cucumaris mites, hypoaspis mites and the pirate bugs shown here.

[pullquote] If you’ve ever had a crooked cucumber, it’s most likely crooked because a thrip damaged it while it was in its infancy. Thrips can also kill our cucumber plants which is why we turn to the pirate bugs for help.[/pullquote]
The pirate bugs are my favourite of the anti-thrip trio because I can easily see them (they’re small, but not as small as mites) and because they’re called pirate bugs (best bug name ever).

These bugs are a critical part of our non-chemical insect control program.