Growing Parsley is easy if you know the proper procedure. This ancient herb has many uses and benefits. Besides being a tasty, colorful and aromatic ingredient in salads, dishes, breads and curries, it is also an excellent choice for your garden.
Parsley seeds should be sown in warm soil on a sunny windowplaunt a few weeks before the start of your growing season. Flat leaf Parsley Planting instructions can be found at the National Gardening Association website. In the vegetable garden, sow flat leaf parsley seeds about 3-4 inches apart, spaced about 12" from each other. Space the seeds about twelve inches from each other.
Parsley roots take up much of the sunlight in hot weather; so space them out or place them on the southern side of the windowsill. Parsley seeds will not germinate unless they get plenty of direct sun but you should keep your Parsley plants watered at all times. Buy organic sprays and fertilizers specially formulated for herbs as they are not harmful to roots.
One of the biggest problems with sowing Parsley seeds indoors is weeds. Weeds can destroy your entire crop so make sure you know exactly how many Parsley plants you want to start and where they are located inside and out. When you are considering sowing outside Parsley is best sown in the spring when the soil is warm. The Parsley roots are very shallow, so using sharp tools during the growing season will only cause injury to the roots. You do not want to pull the entire plant when you first see that the leaves look green and healthy.
Be careful not to over-sow your Parsley seeds in the spring as the soil could become too hard or dry for good seed production in the second year. Also remember to keep your Parsley plants cool in the summer. Keep your plants cool by having them in a location that receives morning sun but avoid the shade areas by planting them near tall shrubs, rocks, trees or sturdy garden furniture. During the fall season (the second year) be sure to mulch the Parsley plant leaves. If you do not mulch then you can expect that in the second year only about one inch of new growth from each cutting will be visible.
In the third year (the last year to harvest your parsley plant) use a sharp knife to remove the majority of the original soil. The reason you want to do this is because you want as much of the soil as possible to retain moisture so that the next crop will have ample water to grow. Do not try to get rid of the greens but rather save them for the fourth year. By removing the greens you also discourage any weeds from growing, which are an enemy to your parsley seeds.
If you live in a place that does not get a lot of sunlight, try growing your parsley plant in a shaded area. Parsley is known to thrive in warm environments so by growing it in a shaded area, you will give it the best chance to grow to its maximum potential. Another option would be to divide your parsley plants in half and place one half in a window box with 6 inches of fresh mulch and the other half in the yard. This way the plant has fresh air and sunlight during the hot part of the day and will receive the full benefit of the sun during the cooler parts of the day.
Harvesting your Parsley plant is easy and does not take a great deal of time. Simply cut off all the tops (both leaves and roots) and cut away the green mesh wiring from the middle of the leafy greens. By removing this wiring you will allow the parsley seeds to fully sprout and mature. Once mature you can simply hang the parsley leaves upside down in your garden for a bit of color.