Friday, August 13, 2010
Polar Bear Parsley Seed
Parsley seeds ripe for the picking.
Year 1 - I started my parsley. Its germination was slow and erratic because of growth inhibitors in the seed coat. Carefully, I transplanted the delicate taproot into my coldframe. They grew well but I should have planted more. As if to compensate, those first few plants hunkered down as the snow fell providing me with a sparse harvest most of the winter.
Year 2 - I didn't think to start more. After an abundant flush of leaves in the spring, these biennials switched gears and put their energy into tall, waving flowerheads. The beneficials were grateful but it was the end of any substantial parsley harvest for me.
Chilled parsley in coldframe
Year 3 - I started even more seeds than the first year but was shocked to discover that I didn't have to. Nearby the flowerheads of last year's plants was a field of volunteers. Neighbours began to find bags of bunched parsley plants on their doorknobs. I thinned them back to the boundaries of my garden.
Year 4 - More volunteers appeared and the two year old plants began to flower. I cut back most of them to prolong leaf production and to minimize thinning (my neighbours got eggplants that year).
Yearling revealing its crown in the bright sun.
Year n - Ever after, I have had plentiful parsley. In the spring, the two year old plants put on a flush of early growth. That year's seedlings take over leaf production in the summer, fall and a good part of the winter. I also dig some roots to force in winter on the window sill.
My parsley harvest may have had a slow start but there is no end in sight. If you would like to hop on the polar bear parsley express, send me an email (at right, under profile) and I'll pass along some of this year's seeds.
Fun and informative article from the West Virginia State University Extension Service -
That Devilish Parsley