Last spring we sowed some parsley seeds in our garden and it came up profusely. The problem is that it looked like celery leaves on spindly stems. We thought it might be celery, but it has grown like parsley. Could seeds of parsley have crossed with celery? I understand they are closely related. This has a flavor somewhere in between the two, but no curl in leaves. What you have is Italian parsley, also called ''celery leaf'' type. Some folks grow nothing else, but others are disappointed with the flavor.
The curled type is more popular, and we prefer this type; however, we've noticed that many gourmet recipes now call for Italian parsley. The curled type is more attractive as garnish and holds up much better. Now's the time to start some parsley if you like a pot or two on your windowsill.
Nothing like a few snips of fresh green parsley (or watercress) sprinkled over a bowl of hot soup on a cold winter day.
The other day, at a flea market, I bought a little plant about 8 inches tall with leathery leaves and clusters of small orange-red flowers. The man at the booth said it was a ''cal-EN-cho,'' but he didn't know how to spell it. I have looked in all my houseplant references and can't find any references to it. Can you help identify it and give some tips for its care? What you have is a kalanchoe (pronounced kal-an-KO-ee), a native of Madagascar, which was grown primarily as a Christmas plant because of its red flowers and natural blooming time until plant breeders hybridized it and made it available all year.
The plant now comes in several colors, including shades of orange, red, pink, and yellow. Since the plant is a succulent, it needs water only when the soil is dry.
Feed it once a month in the summer, but in fall and winter give it a dilute feeding every two or three months. Yours should bloom for several weeks, then blooms will taper off during spring and summer.
If you want to flower it again, give it treatment similar to that given to poinsettias. They should have 14 hours of complete darkness each day from September through early October.
Poinsettias should get this treatment from Oct. 1 to late November. You can provide the darkness each night by slipping a paper bag over the plant.
Plants don't need sunlight but do respond to bright light. They can be started from seeds or cuttings.
We have a new lawn (two years old) and it's full of mushrooms. How can we get rid of them? Will adding lime to the soil help?
Mushrooms, or toadstools, often come in with topsoil loaded with organic matter, or they may thrive on tree roots left in the ground. They often emerge after rainy spells or during heavy dews. There's no chemical way to get rid of them.
Mow them off as they appear and eventually the spores will be eliminated. Hand-picking will also help.
Adding lime will have no effect on mushrooms, since they live in either an acid or alkaline soil.
If you have a question about your garden, inside or out, send it to the gardening page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115.