I love Parsley... and so do my butterflies and bees. If I have to share this tasty herb I will need to have a large supply. I grow both Flat Leaf Parsley(Petroselinium crispum neopolitanum) and Curly Parsley a(Petroselinum crispum). I feel the Flat Leaf is more favorable for cooking but the butterflies don't seem to care. Black Swallowtail larva will devour either. So please plant both.
Because of the desire to grow multiples of this herb, this year I am growing Parsley using four different methods. It will be interesting to see which method is the winner.
The first method is the easiest. I have had good luck with my parsley reseeding and coming back year after year. It is a taproot biannual so I allow the older plant to go to seed and I have successfully ended up with new starts of this great herb. Often times the plant is tougher the second year, so I usually try to focus on using the new young plants and allowing my garden friends to munch away on the rest.
2. Winter Sowing
This method has proven very effective with both varieties of parsley. I have done winter sowing for over four years and have come to enjoy the ease of this method. Please refer back to my previous blog for a step by step guide for Winer Sowing.
3. Starting seed in the seed starting flat with a dome under lights and in the greenhouse.
Most people get Flowers or candy for Valentines Day, but not me. I was thrilled to get a growing station from Garden Supply. The adjustable lights and shelves really adds to the effectiveness of starting seeds. I still have to use my home made station since I have a seed addiction. One can never start enough seeds.
I started several trays of both flat leaf and curly parsley. Since the seeds are tough, I poured very hot water over them and then let them soak about 24 hours before putting them in the seed trays. Then I painted them according to the directions on the package. Most seeds packets have very valuable growing and germination information on the packet. So read and reread. I use a seed starting mix in the trays. I purchased the trays as I love the drainage of the seed insert in the outside tray. I have used lots of different vehicles to germinate seeds, some worked better than others A most important necessity is good drainage. I have killed many seedlings by drowning.
I covered them with domes and placed them on the warming seed mats under the lights. I made sure they never dried completely out by gently watering. In less than two weeks the first leafs popped out of the soil. Then I removed the domes over the trays. I put one tray in the heated greenhouse and the other on the old growing station. So far so good.
4. Starting the seed in the garden and in pots outside.
Lastly I soaked the remaining seeds in hot water for 24 hours then planted the seeds in the existing gardens and in a pot outside. Since I did this about 2 weeks ago, the seeds have gone through a freeze/thaw cycle and so they should germinate and grow. Time will tell...
I will you let you know how these parsley seeds progress. I am sure I will have a bountiful crop of parsley.
More than enough for all.