The herb Parsley is a member of the Petroselinum plant genus, and it is beloved by chefs.
Parsley can reach a height of 15 to 45 cm and is usually grown as an hardy annual.
Parsley is actually a hardy perennial and will flower in its second year if allowed.
The leaves of parsley can be removed at any time before flowering occurs (spring time).
As with most herbs, parsley is best used fresh; curly varieties are usually the best to use raw, whilst flat leaved parsleys are great for cooking with.
Parsley can also be frozen, be sure to clean and dry the parsley thoroughly before freezing.
Common Names: Parsley: Curly leaf; Italian; Flat leaf; Hamburg Root.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial commonly grown as a hardy annual or a biennial.
Height: 6 to 20 inches (15 to 50 cm).
Native: Europe, Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 4 to 9.
Flowers: Early spring.
Flower Details: Yellow, white. Small. Grown for its leaves.
Foliage: Lobed. Toothed, Curly.
Sow Outside: 1/4 inch (6 mm). Before the last frost or in autumn. Spacing 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm).
Sow Inside: Use peat pots. Soak seeds overnight. Germination time: two to six weeks in the dark. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors before the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Good drainage. Soil pH 5.5 to 6.5. Rich soil. Moist soil. Mix cow manure to the soil when planting. Regular watering. Requires feed. Harvest leaves for culinary use.
Miscellaneous: Parsley attracts predatory insects such as wasps and is therefore a good companion plant. It also emits a similar scent to tomatoes; therefore many pests lay eggs on parsley by mistake.
For a prolonged growing and harvesting period start the parsley plants off indoors by sowing into peat pots in the second half of winter. First soak the parsley seeds for a day in water, sow at a depth of 6mm, then germinate in the dark at about 20 degrees centigrade.
It should take about 3 to 6 weeks for Parsley to germinate. The plants should then be grown in an area where it will receive plenty of light at a temperature of 20 degrees. The plants can be transferred outdoors about 20 cm apart at the start of spring before the last frost has occurred.
If starting Parsley (Petroselinum) outdoors then sow at a depth of 6 mm before the last frost of spring. Parsley is able to grow in either lightly shaded or sunny parts of the garden. The soil should be slightly acidic (pH 5.5 to 6.5) and richly manured.
Once growing Parsley and other Petroselinum plants should be fertilised once they reach about 12 cm in height; a month later feed them again. In midsummer mix some fresh compost into the ground that the parsley is growing in.