Parsley is one of the easiest herbs to grow for the home gardener. You can grow it in just about anything–a window box, a container, or even a cup. If you want to grow parsley in your outdoor garden, though, you’ll need to take steps to ensure it gets plenty of sunlight and nutrients.
Preparing the soil for planting
Choose a planting site that receives either full sunlight during the day or no more than partial shading. As with many vegetables, this herb needs to grow in soil with a pH level of at least 6.0 and no more than 7.0. Loosen the soil well and add organic compost to add vitamins and nutrients to the gardening bed. The soil also needs to be moist but not soggy, so make sure to choose a location that has ample drainage.
How to plant parsley
If you’re planting parsley in the late spring, you can sow it directly into the ground. Place the seeds in the ground and cover them with a very thin layer of soil. As the seedlings grow, begin thinning them out until they are about 12 inches apart.
On the other hand, if you’re planting parsley in the winter, you’ll probably need to start them as indoor seedlings about eight weeks before the last spring frost. You can do this by placing fertile soil into a garden pot or any container that has holes for drainage. When the seedlings reach a few inches in height, they’re ready to be transplanted outdoors.
Caring for your plants
Parsley, like most plants, needs plenty of water while growing. Water the plants deeply every week to keep the roots from drying out. To keep the soil moist in between watering, add a layer of mulch around the base of the plants. Add fertilizer to the plants every few weeks to ensure they get the needed nutrients.
How to harvest the herb
As a general rule, you can harvest parsley whenever the leaves start growing well. If you want the plants to continue producing throughout the growing season, simply snip the stems as close to the ground as possible and work from the outside of the plant inward.
You can use the parsley either fresh or dried. The herb has a lot of health benefits. Keep the fresh parsley in the refrigerator and only rinse it when you’re ready to use it in cooking. If you want to dry the parsley, you can just spread them out on a window screen until dry. Or use a dehydrator and then crush them by hand before storing.