By this time of year, parsley plants will have gone to seed in most parts of Southern California. But rather than viewing the end of fresh parsley from your garden with despair, view it as an opportunity: the opportunity to engage in sustainable gardening practices by naturalizing parsley.
How to Naturalize. One of the best ways to grow parsley in California is to let a crop go to seed and naturally drop mature seeds. If the garden area where parsley drops seeds can be kept reasonably dry from summer until fall-and-winter rains, seeds will survive in and on soil. The germination inhibitors in their seed coats will naturally degrade over weeks and months. When this occurs, parsley will often sprout on its own with fall-and-winter rains or with irrigation, without putting you through the long wait and hassle of growing transplants or protecting seedlings for months. Be sure to watch for parsley sprouts in the weeks after rains, and for best harvests, provide supplemental water between rainy periods and to avoid any wilting.
Advantages of Naturalizing Parsley. Parsley naturalizes well in many areas of California, which is unsurprising as it is native to the Mediterranean, and is one of the best and easiest, multiple-use culinary and medicinal herbs for a permaculture or sustainable garden in your area. When it germinates on its own, it tends to be much more drought tolerant, and in fertile soil with reasonable winter rains, will often put down a deep taproot that allows it to survive and produce a reasonable yield of leaves well into spring or even summer with little or no irrigation. Parsley attracts and feeds many beneficial insects, especially when it flowers.
To view customized information for growing parsley in your area, go to GardenZeus and enter your zip code, then go to parsley.
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