If you are looking for an easy to grow and flavourful herb to add to your home herb garden, you need to take a look at parsley. This herb grows well in the garden with tomatoes and can make a great addition to your kitchen in both flavouring savoury dishes or when used as a garnish.
Parsley is best enjoyed fresh where it has its full-bodied flavour which isn’t as strong when it is dried for storage. Learning how to grow parsley is easy and a great way to enjoy fresh parsley all year long.
How to grow Parsley
Although it will thrive in full sunlight, if you live in a rather hot area, it will tolerate a little shade. Depending on the area you live in, these plants should be planted in different times of the year. In warmer areas, plant in the autumn, to give them time to become well established before the summer heat rolls in. In cooler areas, they should be planted in late spring, after the last frost.
Parsley should be planted with a small amount of fresh compost to give it a boost. The plant then needs to be fertilised every 4 to 6 weeks to help it thrive.
Keep your parsley well-watered and cut away flowers if you do not want your parsley to seed and spread in your garden bed.
If you want a stronger flavour for preserved parsley stop fertilising 6 weeks before your final harvest.
Growing From Seed
Parsley has a high germination rate, which makes it easy to start from seed. It will even self-seed and spread fast, if the plant is allowed to go to seed. This herb will quickly flourish and take over the surrounding garden bed, so best to keep an eye on it or plant it in a pot.
It is grown as more of an annual in cooler climates, where cold winters will kill off the roots. In warmer climates, parsley can be grown as a perennial.
Before growing parsley from seed, you will need to prepare the soil. When doing this, make sure to include some fresh compost and organic matter such as old mulch, which will help improve drainage and nutrition.
To grow from seed, plant 2-3 seeds in a seed starting container and lightly cover them with seed starting medium. They need to be planted around ¼ inch (6mm) deep with a spacing of 6 to 8 inches (15-20cm) between plants and around one foot (30cm) space between rows.
Moisten gently with a spray bottle of water and water again, as they begin to dry out. Parsley loves moist but well-draining soil.
More Herb Resources
- How to Grow Herbs
- Planning a Herb Garden
- Printable Garden Journal
- How to Grow Basil
- How to Harvest, Preserve and Use Basil
- Tips for Growing and Harvesting Rosemary
How to harvest Parsley
You can begin harvesting parsley from your plant, after it has 4 to 5 sets of true leaves.
While parsley can be dried for preserving, it is best fresh, making it well worth growing this herb.
Never harvest more than ⅓ of the plant at a single time to prevent over harvesting. Use clean dry garden shears or pinch off springs of parsley for regular use.
If you live in a cooler climate, harvest any remaining parsley before the first frost.