Monthly Archives: February 2013

Plants: Parsley

Name: Parsley

Plant Type: Herb/Vegetable

Types: Flat Leaf (Italian), Curly Leaf, Hamburg Root Parsley

Size: 9-18″

Hardiness Zones: 3-9

Family: Apiaceae

Relatives: Angelica, Anise, Caraway, Carrot, Celery, Chevil, Coriander, Cilantro, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Queen Anne’s lace, Lovage, Parsnip, Sea Holly

Native Region: Mediterranean

Growth Cycle: Biennial in temperate climates and annual in tropical climates. Is usually grown as an annual herb.

Rich in: Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Iron, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc

Health Benefits: Parsley is rich in anti-oxidants and has anti-inflamatory, anti-bacterial, immune strengthening, properties.

When consumed as a tea, parsley helps to restore the body’s natural acid/alkaline balance and reduce inflammation.

Parsley herb is found to be diuretic in nature which promotes healthy workings of the kidneys and elimination of gall bladder and kidney stones.

In women, parsley  nourishes and restores the blood of the uterus, as well as helps restore hormonal balance by the presence of apiol which is a constituent of the female sex hormone estrogen.

Inhibits tumor formation, decreases risks of heart disease and is a great digestive tonic, helping with diarrhea, flatulence and digestive problems.

Parsley also relives pain due to joint stiffness, arthritis and rheumatism .

*Parsley can have a few side effects. Pregnant women should avoid parsley juice because it is a uterotonic, which may cause contractions.

Planting Companions: Tomatoes, corn, asparagus, roses. Great companion plant because the flowers attract predatory insects with nectar, which do not reproduce, but prey on pest insects.

Uses:  Raw on salads and sandwiches, garnish on all foods, pesto, soups, sauces, stuffing, soups base, butter and more!

Interesting facts: Parsley is one f the host plants for Swallow Tail Butterfly.  Parsley was thought to symbolize death in ancient Rome.

Planting: Parsley

It seems strange to think about planting while the scenery outside the window is still quite prevalent with sparkling shimmers of snow, yet there is one plant that needs a very early start on things – parsley. Parsley is notoriously long germinator, even though otherwise is a very hearty plant.

I personally prefer flat leaf (italian) parsley – it is easier to handle and has a richer flavor, but the curly leaf is great for decoration. I also will experiment with root parsley, which is a rarer kind in the USA, but very popular in Easter Europe, where i have my roots.

Germination may take 3-6 weeks and many methods are out there to help speed up the process, usually including pre-soaking the seeds overnight. Personally, last year we had no problems with sprouting, even though the parsley did take a bit longer than other seeds to come up.

The soil temperature ideal for parsley is around 70 degrees and it is quite tolerant of the cold. Seeds should be started indoors 10-12 weeks before the last spring frost, which here is around April 21-30. Seeds need to be kept moist before sprouting and sufficient water after as well. Final spacing of plants: 6-8″ apart and best planted near asparagus, corn and tomatoes in the garden.

So to plant in a container, i sprinkle the seeds on top, cover gently with soil (i mix organic natural soil with peat moss and some sand) and keep moist. The seeds went in a couple of days ago, looking forward to seeing the sprouts!

The image above is from our parsley overwintering in our in-door garden under lights. The flavor of it has gotten stronger as it matures, so i am mainly keeping it to experience the blooms of the second year and try to collect some seeds, planning to plant it back outside in the spring.

Last year we had a lovely experience with our parsley and dill plants, as they are hosts and food for the Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars, many of which we have grown and saw transform into lovely butterflies last year! We still have a few cocoons overwintering in the garage. I am planning to grow extra plants to ensure a sufficient habitat for the the caterpillars and enough for us to eat and dry!