Whether its flat or curly or Dutch, parsley is easy and essential in the organic garden. The intricate little leaves are often used as a garnish (there always seems to be a healthy sprig on the side of each plate in American restaurants) but parsley adds flavor to meat dishes, soups, salads, etc. Dutch parsley, also know quixotically as Hamburg parsley, is the odd one in the family, as its roots are as beneficial as its leaves, and is generally cooked like parsnips.
Another use for parsley is to combat bad breath. The leaves are rich in chlorophyll, so perhaps the next time you see parsley garnishing a garlic-rich meal, you should have a nibble as a courtesy to your after dinner companions?
By now your home garden should be producing lovely curly plants of 8-10 inches tall, but maybe it slipped your mind and all you have is a packet of parsley seeds. It might not be too late to grow some parsley, as this is a hearty herb that can last late into the season. Get going this weekend – soak some seeds overnight, to get the slow germination going, and plant some windowbox parsley. You’ll have a wait to see green, about 4 weeks before the lazy little parsley seeds poke their heads out, but once going, they are low maintenance. Use a window that receives 5 hours of sunlight a day, and leave room for some deep roots.
Once your parsley plants come in, if you are in a temperate climate and have a good 6 weeks before any frost, transplant the seedlings to the garden in rows 6 -7 inches apart, making sure to cover them and cover 1/2 inch deep. To save some space and fill in your garden, sneak the plants between rows of celery, Brussels sprouts, and spinach. However, avoid potatoes – parsley only gets along with potatoes on your dinner plate.
Other things to watch out for are aphids, carrot rust flies and for dear readers in North America and Australia, cabbage looper moths.
Parsley can last the winter if lightly mulched during extremely cold weather.
A further note on Dutch, or Hamburg, parsley: This one is a late bloomer and therefore needs a spring to late autumn growth cycle. Once rooted, can withstand cold temperatures, so can be a nice November treat for you. The root tastes a bit like celeriac and makes a wonderful soup.
Love the Life you Live,