Parsley is one of the most common herbs grown in herb gardens. Its leaves can be used as a flavoring or as a garnish, and it’s also a natural breath neutralizer. Try chewing on a parsley sprig to get rid of garlic breath!
Once you get parsley growing, the upkeep is relatively simple, but getting there takes some patience–seeds take 3 to 4 weeks to germinate. Soak seeds in warm water overnight to speed things up a little. Start parsley seeds indoors in transplant pots, and plant several seeds per pot to make up for the poor germination rate. Plants grown from seed will be ready to harvest in 12 to 14 weeks.
Parsley enjoys rich soil with good drainage. It doesn’t need as much sun as other herbs, so growing in partial shade is fine. Although it is a biennial plant, parsley is generally grown as an annual plant because it goes to seed and comes back again quickly.
The main varieties of parsley are flat-leaf (Italian) and curly. Flat-leaf varieties are more flavorful for use in dishes, while curly parsley is slightly bitter and often used as a garnish only.
Harvest parsley when the plant is at least 6 inches tall. Clip away the leaves you need, but try not to remove more than one-third of the leaves at any one time. Although the leaves are the most commonly used part of the parsley plant, the long root is actually a vegetable that can be cooked and served similar to parsnips.