Parsley is probably the most commonly used herb in our kitchens which and it is very economical and easy to grow all year round. There are two main varieties, the traditional curly leaved and increasingly popular Italian flat leaved parsley.
Companions Onion, asparagus, tomato, radish (sow rapid-growing radishes alongside parsley seed and they will mark the position of parsely which is slow to germinate).
Quantity 1 plant per person.
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Italian a flat-leafed parsley variety that grows fairly large – at least to around knee height and fairly wide too. Taste is stronger than curly leafed parsley and so Italian is often specified in recipes.
Curly leafed crowded, curled leaves in tight heads – especially ‘Triple curled’. Mild parsley flavour.
Plant or sow in early spring and summer.
Parsley does best in a sunny spot but I have it growing in partial shade where its leaves retain a more delicate flavour through the hotter months of summer. It is a great herb for growing in pots along with other herbs and along the edges of flower beds as decoration.
Parsley likes a fertile soil that has been enriched with rotted manure or compost – best of all, nitrogen-rich chicken compost. Parsley grows to about halfway up your shins.
Soak seeds in water for a couple of hours before sowing to stimulate germination.
In early spring, sow seeds a finger-tip deep directly into the garden or proposed container. Thin seedlings as they develop so that plants end up with about a full hand’s length between them.
Plant shop-bought seedlings with an average spacing of a good hand’s length between them.
Water young seedlings in dry periods. Once they are established and starting to grow you shouldn’t need to continue with watering unless weather is persistently dry and your soil dries out. Mulch to retain soil moisture.
My boys eat parsley in-between goes on the skateboard ramp – simply tearing handfuls from our various plants. They also love picking it and scattering it on their fried eggs straight from the chook house. Tear leaves with your hand or, perhaps more tidily, you can cut stems low with scissors – don’t pull on plants as they are easily uprooted. Keep picking to stimulate re-growth.
Allowing parsely to flower and self-seed means you’ll be rewarded with a free crop of fresh parsley through winter and on into next spring and summer.