Growing Parsley
A Fresh Herb Border

Growing parsley makes a great garden boarder. No longer just regulated to a dinner plate garnish, parsley is a great year round herb.

Parsley is a biennial that produces small yellow flowers in the second year. Hardy to zones 5-9 parsley is a great addition to your herb garden as well as your flower beds.

Parsley leaf has a nice flavor that enhances any dish that isn’t sweet. The leaves contain high amounts of chlorophyll that is a natural breath freshener when eaten fresh.

During the Middle Ages parsley was use as a medicine thought to ad in digestion, help against the plague and jaundice. Most of the health benefits were probably due to the nutrition packed in the fresh parsley leaves although flat leave parsley has been shown to help with inflammation.

    1 Cup(60gm)Fresh parsley leaves contain:

    21 calories
    5055 UI vitamin A
    79.8 mg vitamin C
    984 mg vitamin K
    91.2 mcg Folate
    82.8 mg Calcium
    3.7 mg Iron
    30 mg Magnesium
    34.8 mg Phosphorus
    332 mg Potassium

So given the nutritional content growing parsley is a smart choice for any garden.



Growing Parsley Varieties

Parsley varieties are curly leaf and flat leaf know as Italian parsley.

Curly leaf parsley

grows to 18 inches tall and makes a great boarder in the flower beds and garden. This parsley attracts swallow tail butterflies which are always welcome.

Curly leaf parsley is easy to grow; it springs up easily from seeds and comes back from year to year. This parsley over winters in cold frames and hoop houses and is a great addition to your winter garden for year round parsley.

Flat leaf parsley grows 10-12 inches tall. Italian varieties have the best flavor for cooking. Flat leaf parsley grows similar to celery. Harvest stems from the outside of the plant. The center leaves will continue to grow new leaves until winter frosts.



Cultivating and Harvesting Parsley

Plant parsley in full sun or an area with filtered shade with well drained moist soil. Parsley does well in your flower beds.

Space your plants about 10 inches apart. If starting from seeds it is best to start the seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before your last spring frost. Sow in the garden bed when the outside temperatures have reach 50 degrees F.

Curly leaf parsley is easier to germinate than flat head varieties. By soaking the seeds overnight and than straining them for several days softens the seed coat making the seeds easier to germinate.

Use care when transplanting to the garden. Do not disturb the roots. Peat pots or paper pots will help eliminate disturbing the roots to much. The transplanted parsley may wilt but keep watering and the plants will revive.

Parsley can be harvested any time after about 8 to 10 leaves form. Cut the leaves about 1 inch above the crown of the plant. I like to cut from the outside and leave the inner leaves to continue to grow.

To keep your parsley productive all summer, keep the stems cut back and remove the flower stalks. Keep your bed weeded and the soil moist. Mulching helps keep parsley growing in drier climates.



Storing Parsley

To store parsley for winter use it can be dried or frozen. The Italian flat leave parsley has a stronger flavor and can be dried. The curly leaf parsley is best frozen.

To freeze, lay washed leaves on a tray until frozen. Place the frozen stems in plastic bags and label. To use, add frozen parsley to your dishes at the end of the cooking time.

For drying, cut stems and wash. Tie the ends of the stems together and hang on a rack in a well vented area. When the leaves are dry they will crumble. Store the crumbled parsley leaves in a container in a cool dark place.

For a nice nutritious tea try the following:

Parsley Mint Tea

¼ cup dried parsley leaves
1 Tablespoons of dried mint leaves

Add dried herbs to a pint canning jar and fill with boiling water. Put lid on jar and steep for 1 to hours.

Strain with a fine mesh strainer.

Warm up in a cup and add honey to taste.

This tea can be stored in the refrigerator for 48 hours. The mint is very soothing and the parsley is very nutritious.



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