Call on parsley to anchor a kitchen herb collection. When grown within steps of your door, fresh herbs will quickly make their way into your summer dishes. Plant parsley and other culinary herbs in pots. Place the container gardens on a patio or deck where they receive at least eight hours of bright sunlight a day. Then simply step outside and harvest what you need—adding it to your cuisine seconds later. In addition to parsley, other essential culinary herbs include basil, cilantro, chives, oregano, rosemary, dill, and thyme. These seven herbs grow with gusto in containers and traditional planting beds.
Cut parsley as needed throughout the growing season. Harvest by snipping outer stems to about 1 inch above the soil. If you're not harvesting parsley regularly, rejuvenate leggy plants by pruning them midway through the growing season.
Use parsley fresh; cut stems keep in the refrigerator for up to one month when wrapped in a damp towel. To preserve parsley, dry stems by bundling and hanging in a dark place, or spread them in a single layer on a screen. When leaves are dry, crumble them and store in airtight containers. Freeze fresh parsley in resealable storage bags, chopped and frozen in ice cubes, or formed into paste with olive oil and frozen flat in storage bags.
Bring parsley plants indoors in fall and enjoy fresh snips throughout winter. Dig parsley plants in fall and pot them in a container with drainage holes. Be sure to use a prepared potting soil as garden soil will not drain well in a pot. Place the container in a bright, sunny window and water regularly. After growing inside through winter, parsley doesn't usually transplant back into the garden well. Discard the plant and start with new plants in the spring garden.
Parsley Care Must-Knows
Start parsley from seed or purchase nursery-grown transplants. Parsley seed is slow to germinate. So unless you are seeking a specific variety only available through seed, consider starting parsley from nursery-grown transplants. If you grow parsley from seed, soften the seed coat by soaking the seeds in water overnight prior to planting. Sow seeds outdoors 1 to 2 inches apart in well-worked, fertile soil. Cover the seeds with ¼ inch fine soil. Water the seedbed and keep it moist while seeds sprout. Thin seedlings to 3 to 4 inches apart when they are 2 inches tall.
Parsley grows best in rich, moist soil. Water plants frequently during dry periods. If the soil is lean or low in nutrients, top-dress around plants with a 2-inch-thick layer of well-decomposed compost. Parsley is a heavy feeder and benefits from additional nutrients midseason.
More Varieties of Parsley
Italian flat-leaf parsley
Petroselinum neapolitanum is great for seasoning hot dishes, since its flavor holds up well under heat.
'Moss Curled' parsley
This variety of Petroselinum crispum unfurls leaves with a clean, crisp flavor that doesn't hold up well in cooking.