June 1, 2016
I have a healthy parsley plant, there is one problem, it is "going to seed". Do I cut off the long stalks with seeds on the end or let them grow?
Parsley is a biennial. The first season it produces foliage, and the second season it blooms and sets seeds, then it is usually gone. Cutting off the flower stalk won't prevent the decline. Harvest and use what you can. Buy some new plants this summer or fall, to take over when this one is gone. It can be grown from the seed, but they are slow to germinate, so I buy new plants. Starting some in the fall and in the spring should give you a constant supply.
We moved from Ireland to Rogers, Arkansas a couple of months ago and we purchased a lovely family home with a large back yard. The backyard is currently lawn, with a couple of medium sized trees and a few beds set away from the grass with low stone walls around the house. I used to be an active gardener back in Ireland, but I am new to this area and don't know what grows well here and when one starts planting. Once spring starts here I would love to do some gardening in those beds. I am interested in planting some herbs and maybe some berries as I love raspberries and blackberries especially, but they are so expensive to buy in the shops. I won't be able to spend very much time gardening though, as I have one year old twins and they are a handful! Can you suggest some herbs and fruit plants for our new home?
Herbs are very easy to grow, and you can do a variety of both annuals and perennials. For dry, sunny areas consider the perennial rosemary and thyme. Oregano, fennel, garlic and sage are also very easy to grow. Cilantro is best grown in the fall as a winter annual. Parsely is a biennial and does well for a couple of years. Basil and dill are both summer annuals and thrive in Arkansas summers with a little bit of water. Blackberries and blueberries are both easy to grow and require little care, other than occasional pruning and water. Raspberries are a tad trickier, but they can be grown. As you have time, you might consider joining the Benton County Master Gardeners. They have a very active group of gardeners in your area. You will learn a lot and get to know fellow gardeners in your community.
I've been trying to grow Italian parsley in a pot to keep indoors over winter, and it will grow well for a few months and then the leaves start to wilt and curl up. I'm an experienced gardener so I don't over water, and I use a professional potting mix that contains fertilizer, so I don't fertilize at all. One variable here is that I allowed the Black Swallowtail caterpillars to feast on it and they pruned it down to the soil level, but it has grown back again. Any suggestions?
You would have been much better off planting the parsley outdoors than in. It is a tad late to get it established outside, but if you can find a nursery still selling it, try. Parsley thrives in cool weather--I usually plant it along with my pansies and violas. It is a biennial, meaning it will only live for two years before blooming, setting seed and dying. The warm indoor conditions with low light and low humidity will make it difficult to grow indoors. For best luck, give it a bright location and the coolest spot you can find inside. Do not attempt moving your plant outside as it would not be acclimated to cold, and would promptly die.
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