Parsley is a biennial Herb (that means it grows only for one season) and much underestimated as “just” a Kitchen Herb that tastes good in Soups, salad is added to Sauces and used as a garnish .
Two of the most common plants are the flat leaved feather-like and the more bold and curly variety. Both of which have very similar tastes and both of them are also very good for you since parsley is rich on vitamins A and C as well as iron.
Where, When and How to plant Parsley
The best way to start your Parsley (in my own experience) start the seeds indoors about 10 to 12 weeks before the last spring frost. I soak my seeds overnight prior to planting to optimize germination. You can move your young plants into the garden when the temperatures of your soil is around 70 degrees.
If planting your seeds outdoors, you can do it 3 to 4 weeks fore the last spring frost. Parsley is a very slow starter and can handle cold weather. Don’t be surprised if it takes a little over 3 weeks for the seeds to sprout.
Make sure your soil is a moist and rich but also drains well.
In England, you can often find parsley as a boarder plant to flower gardens because of the lush bright green leaves, but it is also a great companion for Tomatoes, Asparagus and Corn. To learn more about Companion gardening look here
How to care for Parsley
Parsley likes organic matter, so make sure you provide “food” by fertilizing with soil from your compost or if needed, store bought organic fertilizers.
Water your plants evenly throughout the summer and make sure the soil does not dry out.
When do you Harvest Parsley and how
Parsley can be harvested as soon as it has three segments on one stem. Harvest the leaves by cutting them from the outer side of the plant for immediate use, leave the inner part to continue to grow and mature, by doing so you are making sure that you will have a constant growth of parsley and can cut it when needed in the kitchen. It is a Herb that is best used fresh.
Storing Parsley and how to use it
I don’t recommend drying Parsley, it will lose its flavor .
During the growing season it is best to cut the amount of leaves that you need. In case cut more than your need, you can keep your parsley Stems in a small container filled with water on your kitchen counter up to three days.
In case you like to keep it in your refrigerator, you can do so by wrapping your parsley in a moist paper towel that will keep it fresh for up to three days.
When you the growing Season comes to an end and you have more parsley in your garden you can harvest the leaves, chop them up and place in ice cube trays with a little water before freezing them. This method allows you to have portions ready when needed, just defrost the Cubes and use the leaves.
Either way you store, keep in mind that in most cases you will not be able to keep the leaves crisp. In case you would like crisp parsley thru out the Winter you should keep a plant in a pot on a sunny Window sill, just make sure you keep it watered frequently and fertilize it.
Medicinal use :
The ancient Romans and Greeks viewed Parsley less as a spice but more as an effective medicine .
Parsley is filled with vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, C and E, and minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, sulfur, copper and manganese. It is used to protect the lungs from carcinogenic substances
The furanocoumarins found in the leaves have antimicrobial properties and the high content of antioxidants, vitamin C and carotenoids makes the herb helpful in strengthening the immune system and build up resistance against infections and diseases as stated in herbal – supplement – resource.
Externally you can rub a leave on an insect sting to reduce the itch .
In case chew on a few leaves of parsley it will eliminate bad breath and drinking 2-3 Cups of parsley tea by steeping 2 table spoons of fresh leaves for 5 minutes in your favorite Cup, during a cleansing, will help you detoxify and invigorate you but also assist with weight loss.
You can also use parsley in your bathwater to soothe and cleanse.
In short, you should use parsley as much as possible not just in your kitchen.
How to harvest your own parsley Seeds
When you want to harvest your own parsley seeds to should do so with a plant that is 2 years old because a first year plant will not produce seeds.
The harvest of the seeds will be done in late fall by cutting the flower. You should harvest when the seeds have changed their color from light green to almost black. Hold the flower upside down over a piece of paper or a plate to catch the seeds as they are falling out of the flowers. Store in a dark paper bag over the Winter and use when ready to start your next herb season.
Much success to you and as always leave questions or comments so I can help you to have the best herb Garden there is.