Parsley is a biennial herb widely used in cooking for its fresh and vibrant flavour. It has flat or curly leaves and is often used as a garnish or ingredient in soups, salads, and sauces. Parsley is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, and iron. It’s also believed to have several health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving digestion. There are two main types of parsley: flat-leaf parsley, which has a stronger flavour and is often used in Mediterranean dishes, and curly parsley, which is milder and used more for decoration.
How to Grow Parsley Organically
- Choose the right time: Parsley is a cool-season herb and it grows best in temperatures between 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C). It’s recommended to sow parsley seeds outdoors about 2-4 weeks before the last spring frost date or in late summer for a fall harvest.
- Select a location: Parsley prefers well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 to 7.0. Choose a location with full or partial sun and good air circulation.
- Prepare the soil: Loosen the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches and remove any rocks or debris. Add compost or aged manure to the soil to improve soil fertility and drainage.
- Plant the seeds: Sow parsley seeds about 1/4 inch deep and 6-8 inches apart. If you want to grow parsley in rows, space the rows about 12 inches apart. Water the soil lightly after planting.
- Water the plants: Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Water the plants deeply once a week or more often during hot and dry periods.
- Fertilize the plants: Parsley plants do not need a lot of fertilizer. You can add a light application of organic fertilizer, such as compost or fish emulsion, once or twice during the growing season.
- Control pests and diseases: Parsley is generally pest and disease-free, but it can attract aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. Use organic methods like neem oil or insecticidal soap to control pests.
- Harvest the plants: Parsley leaves can be harvested when the plants are about 6-8 inches tall. Cut the outer leaves of the plant and leave the inner leaves to continue growing. You can also harvest the entire plant at once. If you want to harvest seeds, allow the plant to flower and then wait for the seeds to mature.
Following these steps will help you grow parsley successfully and enjoy its fresh flavor in your favorite dishes.