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Plain Leaf Parsley is one of the best known and most used herbs. Once germinated they are easy in grow, however germination can be poor if the right conditions are not given.
Leaves can be harvest as soon as large enough and will reshoot for more pickings.
Outside: April - July
Indoors: Virtually all Year Round
Parsley seeds need a temperature of around 20C to germinate successfully. They will germinate in lower temperatures but you will get fewer seedlings. Sow indoors in pots or modular trays of damp seed compost from mid-March to June. It is often recommended to soak the seeds in lukewarm water overnight before sowing. Cover the seeds with a light layer of fine compost and ensure the pots or trays do not dry out. Placing a layer of cling film over the pots or trays will help to conserve moisture and maintain temperature. It can take on average 4 weeks for the seeds to germinate.
Growing in pots
Parsley seedlings do not transplant well so growing in pots is a good option. They can be re-potted into larger pots when they have outgrown the seedling pot stage. Before moving the pots to their positions in the garden ensure the plants are acclimatised by placing in a cold frame, cloche or cold greenhouse for at least 7 days. Keep plants watered and apply a liquid feed every 2 weeks.
Growing in beds
Because parsley does not transplant well, they can be grown by sowing seed directly into prepared seed beds outdoors. Create shallow drills and sow the seeds liberally. Lightly cover and ensure the beds are kept watered using a watering can with a fine rose attachment. Thin out the emerging seedlings to 20cm apart. Indoor pot grown plants or plants grown in modular trays can be planted out into their permanent positions from June onwards and will produce better plants than those sown directly outdoors.
Watering regularly is important because if left to dry out parsley plants will quickly flower and then seed (bolt) at the expense of producing new leaves. Remove any lower shoots that begin to turn yellow and remove any weeds as they appear. Picking leaves regularly will also encourage new leaf growth.
Pests and diseases
Carrot fly can be a problem in some areas with the larvae feeding on the plant’s roots. Surrounding the plants with clear polythene barriers is one way to discourage the low flying adults from reaching the plants but if they are affected then the best measure is to remove the dying plants. Celery leaf miner is another pest, which can be controlled by picking off the infected leaves. Remove aphids as they appear.
Harvesting and storage
Parsley can be harvested all through the summer months. Use scissors to cut low down on the plants and then use the leaves fresh. Parsley can also be dried or frozen for later use.
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