How To Grow Parsley With Ease
Originally native to the Mediterranean region, parsley (Umbelliferae) is now cultivated in many varieties.
We will first examine some background facts about this versatile herb then look at how to grow it fuss-free.
How To Grow Parsley With Ease
Plant Description and Cultivation
Parsley is a biennial. This classification is slightly less common than the usual annuals or perennials. Parsley will only come back after two gardening seasons.
It grows up to 60cm on a very stout root.
The leaves are triangular with 3 lobes. They curl up at the end and have a slightly ruffled appearance.
Yellow flowers will bloom in the second year followed by oval seed pods which contain sickle-shaped seeds.
Parsley calls for rich and moist but well-drained soil. It likes a mixture of sun and shade. If you lack the requisite soil then try growing it in a pot.
This miraculous herb is propagated from seed sown in the late spring.
The flat-leaved French parsley is incredibly aromatic.
What Part of Parsley Do You Use?
The leaves and seeds are both put to use so you get maximum bang for your buck with parsley.
In the final year, even the taproot is edible. In fact, it’s the most potent and pungent part of the plant.
The seeds are most powerful in terms of medicinal properties. They contain up to 7% essential oil, flavonoids and glycosides.
What vitamins are in parsley? As well as vitamins A and C, this herb also contains many minerals. The leaves are very rich in iron and vitamin C.
Parsley has powerful diuretic and stomach-tonic uses. The 16th century botanist John Gerard said of garden parsley that, “It is delightful to the taste and agreeable to the stomach.” He added that it could neutralize poison, perhaps because of its strong aroma.
Take care if you are pregnant and avoid using the seeds medicinally. Watch out, too, if you have a history of kidney disease.
Using fresh leaves in cookery is perfectly safe.
How To Use Parsley: Culinary Use
Parsley is extensively used as a flavoring in many different dishes. From soups and sauces to meat and fish recipes, egg and cheese or salad dressings, parsley can infuse your meal with a burst of aroma and tantalize the taste buds.
In the same way that salt seasons a dish, parsley helps to tie flavors together.
How To Use Parsley: Medicinal Use
A standard infusion of parsley leaves works wonders for indigestion. This is particularly useful if you’ve eaten a glut of rich food.
You can also call upon this herb if you are suffering from fluid retention or gout.
Parsley can help to stimulate the appetite and also aids the absorption and assimilation of nutrients.
Seeds are also used in herbalism but this is best left to the professionals. The seeds are not recommended to be used in this way at home.
You might have asked yourself what is parsley good for and now you have the answers. Whether in the kitchen or for medical use, it’s a very flexible herb with myriad uses.
We will take you through some basic steps now so that you can grow parsley at home and enjoy these benefits for yourself.
Directions For Growing Parsley
First of all, decide which type of parsley you’d like to grow.
Flat-leaf parsley (Neapolitanum) is the choice of cooks due to its tremendous flavor and ease of chopping.
Curly leaf parsley (P. Crispum) is also extremely tasty and offers you a very striking display in the garden as an extra kicker.
How To Plant Parsley
Parsley is straightforward to start from seed. Germination can take a little longer than with some herbs, though.
Sow the seeds straight into soil. Wait until about a month before the final frost of the year. If you want to speed things up, consider soaking the seeds overnight before you sow them.
If you prefer, start the parsley seeds indoors up to three months before the last frost to get off to a flying start.
How long does it take parsley to grow? Well, although it’s a slow starter – perhaps 2-5 weeks for the seeds to sprout – the good news is that harvest time comes around quickly.
Grow your parsley indoors or out in the garden with equal confidence.
If you have an indoor garden then put your pot near a window which gets ample sunlight.
For outdoor growers, one smart idea is to plant your parsley near rose bushes for added fragrance. Parsley is also the perfect companion for tomatoes if planted in containers.
There are 4 main pointers to think about here:
Parsley can cope with either part-sun or full-sun environments. Indoors, you need to target sunny windows for best effects
Choose loamy and moist soil and take care to turn it well. Use some rich compost early on, ideally just as you are sowing your parsley
Parsley is extremely adaptable. It prefers moist soil but is also quite able to tolerate a drought
Thin out your parsley to about 10 inches apart if you are starting it off from seed. This same distance holds true if you are transplanting small plants or seedlings
When To Pick Parsley and Harvesting
As mentioned, parsley is a biennial. This means that its cycle of harvesting is slightly different.
In year one, harvest your parsley for its leaves. Pick the stalks which are farthest away from the center. If you leave both the inner stalks and the leaves, the plant will continue to grow nicely.
During the second year, you will notice the leaves become sparse and you’ll see the flavor drop in intensity. You can still use the leaves but let your parsley bloom.
Collect up the seeds so you can sow them in spring.
In the fall of that same year, it’s time to harvest the root. Shave this over salads for a penetrating burst of flavor and a delectable crunch.
The cultivation of parsley dates back at least as far as the ancient Greeks. They used it in many different ways, even to crown their athletes with.
Although it has a reputation as a fickle herb, parsley really isn’t tough to grow. If you ensure that the soil is of the correct quality and avoid overcrowding, you could very rapidly have some delicious fresh parsley to put to good use.
Be patient and press all parts (including the stem) into action.