Add cilantro to a home herb garden and you have a versatile annual for harvesting leaves or seeds. Harvest the flat, green leaves of the cilantro plant to add flavor to savory dishes. If you harvest the seeds of the cilantro plant, you have coriander spice for adding to cooked and baked dishes. Grow a cilantro plant in early spring when the weather is cooler for an early summer harvest.
Cultivate the garden soil 6 inches deep with the garden spade. Add 4 inches of compost to the soil and mix to combine. Smooth the soil with the rake to finish preparing the garden.
Plant the cilantro seeds in rows with 2-inch spacing. Cover the seeds with a ½-inch layer of soil. Water the newly planted cilantro seeds thoroughly immediately after you finish planting them.
Keep the soil evenly moist while the seeds germinate, but do not water to the point of puddles forming on the soil. Continue to keep the soil moist after the seedlings emerge from the soil until the seedlings are approximately 3 inches tall. Reduce watering at this time and only water if the soil dries out completely.
Apply 2 inches of mulch around the cilantro plants to keep the soil moist and prevent weeds from growing near the plants.
Apply a 21-0-0 fertilizer to the seedlings when they are 2 inches tall. Sprinkle the fertilizer into the soil, adding ¼ cup of fertilizer for every 25 feet of garden row. Do not allow the fertilizer granules to touch the cilantro plants. Water the cilantro immediately after fertilizing to help the fertilizer absorb into the soil. Fertilize the cilantro plants again one month later.
Harvest cilantro leaves for the first time when the plants reach 4 to 6 inches in height. Clip the leaves and stems directly from the plants with pruning shears to harvest. Prevent the cilantro from blossoming by pinching off buds before they open if you want to continue to harvest cilantro leaves.