Thursday, September 9, 2010

Saving and Germinating Parsley Seeds

I have been collecting parsley seeds for the last few weeks.  I grew both flat leaf and curly parsley from seed in 2009.  They grew all summer/fall last year and overwintered in the garden.  This year, the same plants grew for a bit in the spring and then bolted quickly.  The flowers were pretty and attracted lots of beneficial insects (see the last picture in this post) and now they are giving me seeds.  I even made a parsley seed bouquet, inspired by the Ottawa Gardener.

I sowed some seeds two weekends ago to test their germination rates.  After 9 days, over 90 percent of the parsley seeds had already germinated.  Not bad, eh?  Here are a couple of pictures.

Since both flat leaf and curly parsley grew and flowered so close to each other, I could not distinguish between the two varieties when I collected the seeds.  I also don't know if they cross-pollinated.  It will be interesting to see what kind of parsley grows from these seeds.

If you're thinking of growing some parsley next year (or even this year indoors) and need some seeds, I have plenty to share, as long as you're not picky between flat leaf or curly parsley!


Erin said...

That is a wonderful germination rate for parsley! I have seen it go up to 20-30 days, who has the patience for that LOL? I usually take all that sprout quickly and dump the rest, I can't wait. I have found however, that if I sow directly outdoors in the fall, it springs up much quicker! And that when I let them self seed it's even better :) I'm lazy!

vrtlarica said...

That is very quick germination for parsley. Mine usually takes 3 weeks to germinate.
I think that I will leave my parsley to go to seed next year, and then to self seed.

Tiny Gardener said...

I dig that last pic of all the seeds! Nice view! I had bad luck with all of my herbs and lettuces bolting insanely fast. I blame it all on the crazy hot weather this summer. Good luck with your new batch of parsley!!

Heather@myeverydaygraces said...

I am so impressed by how methodically you garden! Do you have a science background? I enjoy reading about your projects:)

Mr. H. said...

A sure sign that you have a green thumb is if you have good luck germinating parsley, carrots, and parsnips...especially if they are from your own saved seed:)

thyme2garden said...

Erin - I also don't have the patience for seeds that take forever to germinate. Anything longer than 10 days qualifies as "forever" in my book! As little patience as I have, I really should have picked something other than gardening as my hobby. But I didn't pick it, it picked me! I swear! :)

I also saw lots of little seedlings pop up outside where I pulled up all the parsley flowers/seed heads. So you might be right about self-seeded parsley popping up much quicker. The only problem right now is that I've also planted my fall crops in the same part of the garden!

* * * * *
vrtlarica - 3 weeks sounds like a lot, but I did read on the internet that parsley is notorious for bad/long germination. That's why I was so surprised that these seeds germinated relatively quickly. I've discovered that letting plants go to seed is fun/fine, if you don't need the garden space for anything else. Otherwise, they just hog the space for months while seeds set and mature.

* * * * *
Tiny Gardener - thank you! I also think close-ups of seeds are fun to look at, along with close-ups of flowers and fruits. My herbs and lettuce bolted really fast this year, too. I'm sure the hot summer had a lot to do with it.

* * * * *
Heather - You're so kind! I do have a science background in the form of a couple of degrees in biology, but I feel like I'm learning so much about basic botany through gardening (and reading about other garden bloggers' experiences) than I ever did in school. I will also own up to being much more comfortable with a spreadsheet than with a Paint/Drawing-type of program. :)

* * * * *
Mr. H. - Ohhh, I might have a green thumb?! That's so exciting! Is my parsley-germinating ability negated in any way by my inability to grow decent sized carrots in Indiana? :-)

Dan said...

It will be interesting to see if the parsley crosses!

thyme2garden said...

Dan - I'll report back on that once all the seedlings have grown. I'm hoping that they will stay separate, as I like having the option of choosing between flat leaf and curly parsley, but if they all end up as some sort of F1 loosely-curly parsley, I won't lose any sleep over it. :)

Anonymous said...

t's such a important site. fanciful, quite intriguing!!!




Chris said...

Hi! I recently germinated some parsley seeds. However, I find that they're growing very slowly. It's been about two weeks and they're still the same height. How long does it take you to grow them to maturity?

Thanks! It would be great if you could talk about how to gather their seeds too (although I don't think I'll need that for a good number of months).

thyme2garden said...

Hi Chris - parsley does grow pretty slow. I think it's pretty normal for them to stay the same height. I haven't timed it exactly, but I believe it takes at least two months before parsley grows to a size big enough for you to start harvesting. They are cut-and-come-again, so once they reach a good size, you can keep harvesting them every 2-3 weeks. To gather the seeds, let them bolt (grow flower stalks) and do their thing. First you'll see umbel-shaped flower heads and then they will turn into seeds. When the seeds are mature, they will be dry and dark brown. Then just shake them loose or pick them off as you wish!

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