Plant, cultivate and harvest parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

Pasley (Petroselinum crispum)

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) belongs to the family of umbellifers (Apicaceae) and originates from Southeast Europe. For about 400 years, the popular kitchen herb has also been used by us to refine and season meat, fish, sauces, soups, vegetables and egg dishes. There are varieties of leaf parsley with curled leaves, which are also suitable for garnishing, and varieties with smooth leaves. Parsley contains many minerals such as iron and calcium, essential oils as well as a high proportion of vitamins A, B and C.

Appearance and growth
Parsley is a biennial plant that forms a rosette of feathered and dark green leaves about 30 centimeters high in the first year. In the second year, a 60 centimeter high flower stem sprouts in June, on which yellow-green umbel flowers form. The seeds develop from them until autumn. Then the plant stops growing leaves and can no longer be used for harvesting.

Location and soil
Parsley thrives in sunny to semi-shade locations on deep, permeable and humus soils. It is advantageous if you enrich the bed with compost or organic fertilizer already in autumn. The kitchen herb reacts sensitively to encrusted soil.

Sowing and planting
For a harvest in summer and autumn, parsley can be sown directly outdoors as early as mid-March. The seeds are sown one to two centimeters deep with a row spacing of 20 to 30 centimeters. Since parsley has a germination period of three to four weeks, the soil must be evenly supplied with water and kept weed-free until the seeds grow. A few radishes between the parsley seeds can be used as marking seeds. It has also proved successful to cover the bed with fleece or perforated foil until the seeds emerge, so that the soil remains as moist and warm as possible. For a harvest in winter it can be sown until the end of July. In addition to direct sowing, parsley can also be preferred in seed trays or pots from mid-January. After germination at about 25 degrees Celsius, the plants must be further cultivated at about 15 degrees Celsius and hardened before planting in April.

Parsley needs a lot of moisture, but does not tolerate waterlogging. The regular loosening of the soil with the hoe promotes new shoots after the first harvest and is important to keep the weeds in check. The kitchen herb does not need any fertilization other than composting during bed preparation.

Harvesting and storage
As soon as the plants are strong enough, fresh leaves can be harvested from late spring onwards. After flowering, however, they become inedible. The chopped leaves are best sprinkled fresh over potatoes, curd cheese, salads, soups and sauces and should not be boiled. Although parsley can be dried in the oven for one minute at 200 degrees Celsius, the kitchen herb loses some of its colour and aroma. The best way to preserve parsley is to freeze it: Wash the kitchen herb and shake off the moisture. Then chop it, fill it into small foil bags or plastic pots and put them in the freezer.

Parsley can be harvested fresh all the time. Cut off the leaves and the stems with scissors or a sharp kitchen knife (left). The leaves of the parsley can be chopped and then freshly processed (right)

Mixed cultivation and crop rotation
Like all umbellifers, parsley may only be grown on the same bed every four to five years. Other umbellifers, such as carrots, should also not stand on the bed during this time. Spinach, chard, tomatoes and radishes have proven to be successful mixed cultivation partners. Distance from lettuce, on the other hand, should be maintained, as lettuce is not a suitable planting partner.

In the case of leaf parsley, a distinction is made between varieties with curled and smooth leaves. Smooth parsley is considered particularly aromatic and rich in vitamins.

Smooth leaf parsley:
Laura’: cut parsley with smooth leaves, compact growth and intense aroma. It grows vigorously and upright ‘Simple cut’: smooth-leaved, very aromatic parsley ‘Gigante d’Italia’: large-leaved, high-yielding variety, ideal for drying
Curly leaf parsley:
Mooskrause’: a tried and tested variety with medium to dark green, strongly curled leaves and long stems. It is very resistant to disease’Gardener’s pride’: old, robust variety with a moderately intense aroma’Lisette’: delicately curled leaves that are good for garnishing and for lettuce’Sperling Smaragd’: densely filled, high-yielding and hardy variety’Green pearl’: densely curled, dark green variety, suitable for late sowing

Diseases and pests
Smooth leaf parsley is considered more susceptible to disease than the curled. Threadworms, so-called nematodes, become noticeable in a red leaf colouring from June onwards. Septoria leaf spot disease can also occur. When infected with the fungal disease, brown spots form on the leaves, on which black spores sit. As a countermeasure, the seeds can be treated with hot water. In autumn there is occasional infestation with downy mildew. To prevent this, you should keep a sufficient planting distance and a regular crop rotation.

Parsley in the our store-Shop






Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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