One of the most common herbs in British cookery, learning how to grow your own parsley won’t go to waste so read this guide!
Parsley is a versatile and aromatic herb that can give a lot of flavour to your food. You can use it in salads, for sauce, on grilled meat, and for spreads.
The herb is rich in antioxidants and proven to fight against several diseases like cancer and osteoporosis. It tastes even richer when freshly plucked from the plants.
Parsley is a biennial crop that can serve you for two growing seasons from just one planting. It has a taproot system in the soil that enables the regrowth of the leaves, post-harvesting.
For the first planting, you can harvest it for the leaves and harvest the seeds in the following year. You can choose from flat-leaf or curly-leaf parsley as per your liking. Flat-leaf parsley is a common choice as it is easier to chop and has a more vibrant colour.
How to Plant Parsley
Parsley grows well in a container and plants easily. When planting parsley indoors, make sure you pick a spot that is warm and gets enough sunlight. Tomatoes and roses make a great companion for parsley. They even help in enhancing the flavour of parsley leaves.
To grow parsley at home, pick ceramic or plastic containers, and sow the seeds in a moist and loamy soil. Make sure that it is well-turned and rich in natural compost material. Place the seedlings at least nine inches apart so that they have adequate space to grow.
Before sowing the seeds, make sure they are pre-soaked overnight. You can start the seed germination process 2-3 months before the end of frosty conditions. The seeds can germinate in the winter as well, however, they may take longer to germinate indoors.
How To Care For Parsley Plants
While growing parsley, it is important that the plants get enough sun in all growing stages, this will ensure beautiful healthy leaves and a fuller flavour.
Keep the soil moist by watering regularly during prolonged dry periods; dry soils can cause the plants to ‘bolt’ (going to seed prematurely).
When you water the parsley plants, ensure that there is no waterlogging. Water should pass through the containers to allow the taproot system to breathe and grow.
How to Harvest Parsley
To harvest parsley, gently pick or snip at the outer stalks as needed in the first growing season. Leave the inner stalks and stems for regrowth.
You can harvest the plant along with the edible roots in the next season. This is an ideal time to collect the seeds from the parsley blossoms for the next sowing season.
It is ideal to use parsley when it is fresh to enjoy its strong flavour. Although fresh leaves have the best flavour, any excess can be frozen or dried in a microwave.
If you have an abundance of fresh parsley and want to use it up, we have found some of the best dishes to get stuck into here!
Tips & Common Problems
Diseases like powdery mildew and leaf spot may affect the parsley plants. Snip these branches and plants so that other plants remain unaffected. You can spray a natural insecticide to discourage the aphids and armyworms.
Should plants start to flower and go to seed, remove the flower heads immediately. This usually signifies the plant is getting past its best and you should grow some more to replace it.
Parsley is a hardy biennial and can carry on into autumn to provide small pickings over winter. Cover plants with a frost blanket to give protection from cold and you should be able to get pickings for longer.