Parsley/Petroselinum Crispum ‘Neapolitanum’
Perhaps the best-known of all herbs, Parsley is a biennial plant which is harvested during its first year: the flowers appear the following year as the plant matures, losing much of its fine flavour, so it is usually sown fresh each season. Parsley may be sown from mid Spring through to late Summer, depending on when it is needed; it is rich in Vitamin C and is one of the essential herbs for the Winter windowsill. Once into growth, it is easy to keep, and benefits from regular harvesting: always remove a whole stem, rather than just trimming the top. If Parsley is left untrimmed, the foliage coarsens.
Parsley is frost-hardy and, as a biennial, dies back in cold weather. Parsley for Winter use must be grown indoors; only in mild regions will it be possible to keep late-sown Parsley growing outside through the Winter. Keep in cool (around 10°C/50°F), but frost-free, conditions for the best growth.
Grow in a sunny position: in mid Summer, plants in pots may need moving out of direct sunlight. Winter-grown plants should be kept on a sunny windowsill.
Parsley prefers moist conditions: water thoroughly, then again once thesurface begins to dry. In Winter, plants indoors should be closely monitored and not over-watered, especially if temperatures are low.
This herb needs no extra humidity: excessive heat will dry the foliage. Plants in good-quality compost will probably need no feed until about eight weeks after potting: thereafter, feed every 10-14 days with a proprietary feed.
As this plant is treated as an annual, repotting is unnecessary: grow the plants in a good-quality, loam-based compost.
Parsley is easy to grow from seed, but difficult to germinate: soak the seed overnight in hand-hot water, then sow into a peat-based compost. Aim for about half a dozen plants per pot. Quicker germination is obtained if the pot is covered in cling film and placed in a warm airing cupboard. Once theemerge, remove the film and grow on in light, warm conditions. If transplanting is necessary, sow a few seeds in bio-degradable peat pots: transplanting is then simple – just place pot, compost, seedlings and rootball in the desired site.
Aphids lurk among the curly leaves of Parsley: they are undesirable on a food crop and should be eradicated as soon as possible by swishing the foliage of the plants in soapy water
RECIPES & REMEDIES
Versatility: Parsley is a very versatile herb, and it is commonly used as a garnish for all types of food, in bouquets garnis and for sauces galore.
Parsley Tea is said to be a good source of iron and is said to clear the complexion. Make it by pouring boiling water over the Parsley leaves, infuse for 20 minutes, then strain. Do not drink Parsley Tea if the kidneys are inflamed.
Breath freshener: Dip a sprig of Parsley in vinegar: when chewed, it removes mouth odours of tobacco. To remove the smell of, chew Parsley raw.