I had a chicken and an egg problem because I didn't know where to start the lifecycle. June 2008, I sowed some seeds and not many came up. Then, in the Fall, some lettuce and cilantro spontaneously sprouted. One single head of curly-leaved lettuce kept us in pretty greens for 4 months. Sure, we had to mix it up with romaine from the store, but that little plant sure was prolific.
Three cilantro plants came up and I had a hard time using them up. When the weather warmed up in the late spring, they bolted and went to seed. I pulled them up and laid them on the potting bench to dry. I can use the seeds as coriander, or sow them to grow more cilantro.
A couple of weeks ago, I scattered some seeds in the shady area by the front door. The germination rate of the seeds I saved is much better than for the seeds I bought in 2008. I don't know if it has anything to do with the difference in soil temperature. The seedlings are leggy; the area might be too shady. If the elm tree next door sheds its leaves soon, then the seedlings will get more light. In 2 months, I might be drowning in cilantro.
In the mean time, I am enjoying the cilantro from our Tanaka Farms CSA boxes. Did you know that cilantro can keep for weeks if kept in a glass of water in the refrigerator? Just trim off a bit at the bottom of the stem and put it in water (like you would put flowers in a vase). Put a loose plastic bag over the cilantro or else they will evapotranspirate like crazy and humidify your fridge (not a good thing). Change the water once in a while.
Oh, now you have seen the inside of my fridge. Did you take The refrigerator personality test? I just have to explain that is not my bottle of iced oolong tea in there. A friend came over and brought it with him. If I want iced tea (and I would only drink oolong hot), I would just brew some leaves up and chill the tea. The box of soy milk and 2 types of home-made salad dressing are typical.