AUTUMN PLANTING, Spring on Steroids (part 1)
I was all set to go on about how this is primo planting time and then discuss a few must-haves. But then I woke up: discussing Fall Planting is like discussing Volunteers, a book, not a post. Last time I tried, “volunteers” became ” shirley poppies” with everything else on the in-a-minute list.
A minute having gone by, this will be about Italian parsley, a must-have volunteer.
But first the annual reminder: time to get those bulb orders in! And that includes the garlic, if you want to try something new from the dozens of types available.
As usual, garlic is the least of it. We’ll mostly be planting tulips and alliums, including more of
for the white garden in Maine.
For New York, there’s yet more crocus, both species and giant Dutch, and of course a few more lilies – primarily trumpets.
and Japanese lilies (L. speciosum) the last lilies to bloom.
Mercifully, it’s not time yet to plant or move peonies (although it is time to clean them up), and …what was I just saying about too much?
Onward to the parsley! Can’t have too much of that.
Or more accurately, can’t have too much parsley until the end of the season, when it’s time to thin them out, leaving just a few well-spaced plants for late harvest and next year’s seeds.
Letting the plants stay semi-crowded* produces weak growth, so the stalks and leaves stay tender and sweet for longer than they would otherwise. But as the days get shorter and colder weakness becomes a liability. Only strong plants can keep producing right through to late fall, then live dormant over winter, resume growth in spring and make seeds in their second summer.
Once you get the sequence going, parsley seeds will sprout unbidden in a skirt several feet in diameter around the parent plant. And because they’re the seeds of well-adapted parsley, they’ll grow more quickly and robustly than newly purchased seeds.
This is important in the land of the self-sown: white sweet alyssum in the first picture, blue forget-me-nots above and myrtle spurge ( Euphorbia myrsinites) raising its pretty head below
* Semi-crowded is because you do have to give them a little room to breathe. Absolutely packed like the subway at rush hour = plants so stressed they bolt
Tulip ‘Mt. Tacoma’ photo by Kristi Niedermann