Parsley (Petroselinum crispum). It is a fabulous herb full of nutrients and flavour and very easy to grow all year.
There are two main types: Italian flat leaf (continental) parsley and curly leaf parsley. Flat leaf parsley is by far my favourite, with its softer texture and almost peppery flavour I love to use it fresh and in cooking.
It is the one herb I use just about every day whether on my morning breakfast eggs, added to a salad, soup or stew or scattered over my favourite pasta or curry, I always seem to be able to find ways to use it.
Here is how I grow parsley all year so that I always have it available.
How to grow Parsley.
It is a biennial growing one year and sending up a flower stalk in the following year, so I like to plant new plants every year.
Parsley is a warm season plant and grow best between 20–30°C. Whilst it will survive at lower temperatures is growth is very slow.
It likes full sun but in hot weather (over 35 oC) a bit of protection is needed.
Like most herbs they like well drained fertile soil with a soil pH of around 6.5.
Ideal for container production. Use a pot of at least a 200mm and good quality potting mix. Be extra diligent about watering and fertilising, especially during hot and windy conditions, to maintain plenty of healthy growth.
Whilst parsley will grow quite easily from seed, they take a long time to germinate (it can be up to 6 weeks) and I am not very patient, so I usually just buy seedlings to plant out.
I do three plantings a year. At the beginning of spring, the beginning of summer and mid-autumn. The spring planting go into the vegetable garden in full sun, the summer planting into an area with afternoon shade and the mid- autumn planting are planted into pots so I can put them in a nice warm protected area during winter. This ensures year-round production.
Even though I let some plants go to seed they do not seem to self-seed around the garden like many people in warmer climates report happening.
They require the usual maintenance of plenty of water and fertilising with a high nitrogen liquid fertiliser once a week to get lots of growth so you can be harvesting bunches of parsley all year.
When harvesting always pull the whole leaf away from the base of the plant rather than just cutting or picking the leafy top as leaving a leaf stub can cause the base of the plant to rot in warmer weather.
As I can usually get year-round production I don’t always dry excess leaves but it is worth doing to have some in the cupboard as it is far superior in flavour to anything you can buy.
So why not pop some parsley plants into your garden this week and enjoy not only the taste but the nutritional benefits of this wonderful herb.