(See individual varieties for specific product information, but in general the growing information will be the same for all parsley.)
Average Days To Maturity: 70-90 days
Distance Between Rows: 2-3 feet
Spacing Between Plants: 12-18 inches apart
When To Plant: Charley recommends planting Parsley in mid to late April after the threat of frost, but experienced gardeners can plant earlier and protect the young plants with buckets and milk jugs or start them out in a cold frame or small greenhouse.
Planting Tip: When growing Parsley in a pot or container, make sure there is good drainage. This can be achieved by putting a layer of gravel or small rocks in before the dirt. Also, make sure the pot is fairly deep to allow plenty of room for the tap root to develop.
If planting in the ground, keep the soil free of weeds and water it a bit so that it is moist when you plant.
In warmer climates with mild winters, Parsley can be planted in the fall for winter harvest. You can help insulate the plants by applying a layer of straw.
Preparation and Care: Parsley can grow in most soil conditions but it really struts its stuff in rich soil that is well-drained and stays moist, not wet. Work some rich organic matter into the soil before planting.
Parsley likes to have 6-8 hours of sunlight per day with a little bit of shade during the heat of the day.
Parsley is a biennial. The first year it concentrates on growing lots of foliage but you had better harvest early the second year. After it starts coming back for an encore performance it will soon bolt and send up a flower stalk and be through.
Make sure there is plenty of air flow around the plants to prevent rot and disease.
Watering: Parsley likes to be kept moist but not soggy. If planted outside, regular watering is necessary until it is established. Once established, once a week should be good as long as your soil is rich and retains the water well. If your soil is poorer, you may need to water more often. In dry conditions, as with any plant, you will need to water more often as well.
Fertilize: Parsley likes rich soil. In addition to working rich organic matter into the soil before planting, apply fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
Harvesting: You may begin harvesting Parsley when your plant is about 6 inches tall. It is best to pick the stems from the outside of the plant to allow new growth in the center. Parsley can be harvested with scissors or by hand. Give the plant a week or more to recover before heavily harvesting again. Since it may take a while for new growth to reach harvesting size, you may want to harvest in stages to ensure a steady crop.
Harvesting in the morning is best for most herbs. Be sure that the dew on the leaves has dried.
Use Parsley fresh in your favorite dishes or store for short periods in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen or dried. To dry, cut long enough stems to tie and hang in bundles. Do this in a warm, dry place. Parsley can also be dried on racks in a similar location.
Common Insect Problems
- Aphids – http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g7274
- Whitefly – http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G7275
- Spider Mites – http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef438.asp
- Parsley Worm (swallowtail butterfly caterpillar) – http://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/cimg266.html
If you find aphids, whiteflies or spider mites on your parsley, rinse them off with water. Pick caterpillars off by hand.
Common Disease Problems
Parsley is not bothered by many diseases.