Parsley 'Plain Leaved' - Seed
Excellent for flavouring soup
Parsley seed needs no prior treatment but steeping overnight in lukewarm water will encourage germination.
Sow under glass in March. Sow outdoors end of April to June.
When outdoors, loosen the soil with a fork to at least 30 cm. Draw a furrow 1 cm deep and label the row. Mix the seed with some dry sand and sprinkle it carefully and thinly along the row. Cover with 0.5 cm soil, press carefully down and sprinkle with water. Extra rows, 20 cm apart.
Under glass, such as a cold frame or possibly a small propagator for indoors - fill trays with fine potting compost, mix the seed with dry sand and sow evenly over the soil. Cover with a shallow layer of soil, max. 0.5cm. Press lightly down and sprinkle with water. Cover with glass and stand at normal room temperature in the light or in the cold frame. Once germinating, remove the glass.
The seeds will germinate in 28-35 days. After 2 or 3 weeks the seedlings can be thinned out (leaving 5 cm between seedlings) and transplanted (also at 5 cm apart). Do not allow the seedlings to dry out.
Originally from the regions around the Mediterranean, Parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. crispum) is a biennial plant that is actually, mostly grown as an annual as the plant tends to flower in year two. When winters are mild it is often possible to still harvest from the plant.
Parsley is really good for you as the leaves contain lots of vitamin A and C and is known for purifying the blood.
Having harvested your parsley, it is best to take the curled leaf from the stems (the stems can certainly be used but they are somewhat tougher). Finley chop the leaves and add to your recipes. Use raw in salads and salsas too. Also a sprig of parsley makes a lovely garnish on soups and various dishes.
Did you know that chewing parsley covers the smell of garlic on your breath?
Freeze small amounts of parsley, just big enough for one meal, by sprinkling chopped leaves into an ice cube form and freezing them into cubes. Transfer into a resealable plastic bag and you will always have some handy when working in the kitchen. You could also try drying it and then storing it in an airtight container.
Water extra in periods of drought throughout the summer and keep the bed free of weeds. This will help the parsley plants grow. The plant does not usually flower the first year but if it should shoot, you can of course delay flowering by removing the entire flower stem.
Herbs on patio or decking
These pots can be stood outdoors. Acclimatise them by standing them in a shady spot for an hour longer every day. After 5 days they will be ready to stay outdoors in a sunny, partly shaded spot.
For convenience, keep them near the kitchen door or window and then you will always have fresh herbs to hand.
From mid-May through October - pick your parsley by the base of the stem from the outer parts of the plant, leaving the centre of the plant to mature. Using scissors or a sharp knife is recommended - be careful when pinching out with finger and thumb as it is easy to pull the plant up. Do not pick too much from one plant. Harvest as long as the plant continues to makes new leaf and you will be able to pick from the same plant(s) for months on end.