From now, in mid-October until mid-November you can still grow your own herbs from seed in a cool greenhouse or on a warm, bright windowsill indoors. Coriander's a favourite with British cooks and it tastes even better when it's home grown. Here's how to do it:
Fill the pots to the top with multipurpose compost, and tap the base of the pot gently on the bench to settle it – the surface should now be just below the rim of the pot. Now water it well and allow it to drain for a minute.
Sow seeds evenly across the entire surface of the compost, leaving about 1/4in (64mm) between seeds. Press them lightly into the compost, then scatter a little more, dry compost over the top to just cover the seeds.
Label the pots, put them in a clear plastic lidded propagator (a heated one is even better), or in a clear plastic bag, and position them in a bright position in an unheated greenhouse, or on a bright, warm windowsill indoors. Avoid direct sunlight, as this can scorch the young seedlings (you can shade the pot slightly by placing it behind a net curtain. In the greenhouse put a sheet of paper in position to shade the pots.
Seeds will usually germinate in about two weeks, and grow rapidly. At this point they need good light from all sides to avoid becoming drawn or leggy. Give pots on indoor windowsills a half turn each day so all sides get light.
You can harvest the stems and leaves at any stage – you get a better return for your effort if you let the plants grow to about 8in (20cm) tall with good bushy foliage, but even the young seedlings work well in cooking.
Once we get to mid November there’s not usually enough light to grow herbs like this, so it pays to stop sowing at that stage, and start again in early March.