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Have a parsley plant (in its second year), and I think it has 'bolted'?, so it not really producing lush green stalks that I can use for cooking.

Can I salvage it? Or is it too far gone?

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3 Answers

Yes, your parsley has bolted. You might be able to use some of the green leaves at the bottom, but the stalks are definitely going to be tough and stringy, unlike when the plant is young. Typically, parsley still keeps producing some good leaves when it has bolted (at least, the people I gave the leaves to didn't say it tasted bad). I don't like parsley, so I can't say much about the taste, but my experience with cilantro and lettuce has been that the leaves get bitter (or off-taste) when the plant has bolted.

You could try cutting the stalks and prolonging the plant's life, but I would suggest getting a fresh new plant and starting the cycle again. Herbs are so easy to grow and new plants are quite cheap, that it's not worth the trouble to keep pushing a bolted plant. You might also find this answer on harvesting herbs useful.

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You should be able to use the bottom leaves. You can also remove the stems with flowers on them - this should encourage some new growth if you are lucky.

Parsley is a biennial plant, meaning that on the second year it bolts and produces seeds. To prolong its life, remove the bolting stems as soon as you see them.

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Dan that parsley's on its way out. Parsley's a great plant for seeing you through the winter with plenty of usable greenery but juuust about now we enter its short period of limbo where last year's crop bolts or fades (mine's not yet bolted but it has mostly gone too yellow and too dried up) and this year's is too small for any kind of harvesting.

Hopefully you sowed a fresh crop several weeks ago and it's well on its way.

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