Parsley has to be the herb with the most Folklore attached to it. The Ancient Greeks used it in Funerals and thought it brought death so wouldn’t grow it indoors. The Romans placed parsley on their plates to protect the food from contamination. They also ate it to sweeten their breath after meals. This is where its tradition as a garnish originated.They tucked it into their togas for protection and wore it on their heads to protect them from inebriation and the used it in funerals too to help you into the underworld. And yet still today Parley in the herb garden is a must.
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European folklore says that only pregnant women and witches can grow parsley properly and that it should be planted on Good Friday for the best crop. I am not sure about that or about the fact that transplanting it is thought to bring death or disaster, and that they say it should never be given away.
I have to say I grew mine from seed. It seems to have done well in my little garden without bringing doom or disaster – I think!!
Growing Parsley in the Herb Garden
Parsley is considered a biennial but can be treated as an annual in cold climates. As a biennial, the parsley plant offers delicious leaves its first year and goes to seed its second year. Parsley also delivers another bonus that final year: its taproot is edible.
Sowing your Parlsey
While parsley is supposed to be difficult to start from seed I have always managed it. True, germination can be a slower process than other herbs. Don’t let this put you off though it will grow.
You can sow seeds directly into the garden soil, three to four weeks before the last frost.
Or for a speedier germination, soak parsley seeds overnight before sowing them. I like to start my parsley seeds indoors, 2 1/2 to 3 months before the last frost, in order to get ahead and have larger plants to start off the growing season.
Parsley needs a rich well dug soil which does not dry out too often. It prefers full sun, but if the soil is good, it will do very well in partial shade.
Taking care of your Parsley
It is actually an easy going plant once it is up and growing, give it water when it is dry and cut flowers off for a longer harvesting time. It can suffer from Carrot root fly but I have never had an issue with it.
Parsley can be harvested throughout the year, especially when growing parsley in a cold frame or indoors during winter. You can begin harvesting parsley once the leaves start to curl. It is best fresh of course but you can preserve it in the freezer or dry it. And in the second year dig up the taproot and shave raw parsley root over salads for an interesting crunch and intense flavour.
I love using it in omelettes, as an extra flavour in soup and in stuffing
Varieties of Parsley
Moss Curled – Tall-growing, strong parsley. Mid-green foliage with an attractive curl. An improved selection of the standard moss curled variety, it’s very easy to grow and tolerates a light frost.
Paravert – A hardy, high-yielding parsley that will provide tasty pickings of robust, curled, dark green leaves throughout summer and winter. Decorative as a garnish for fish and meat dishes, and very nutritious in soups, sauces and stews.
Parsley Envy – A ‘must’ for the herb garden, producing strong-growing plants with dark green densely curled foliage. Ideal for pot growing as well as in the garden. RHS Award of Garden Merit winner.
Plain Leaved – An excellent flavoured parsley with flat leaf foliage, as used extensively on the continent. Vigorous leaf growing.
Here is my Quick grow Guide you can download to help you with your Parsley
If you enjoyed this herb growing guide you can find more here
- Growing Basil successfully
- The Herb guides – Growing Chives
- Growing Garlic the Right and the wrong way!
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