Ok, I admit it…I can’t seem to think about herbs without thinking about Simon and Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair. For that reason I am going to start my indoor herb garden with 4 of my favorite herbs.
Parsley – is a biennial – a plant that needs two years to complete its life cycle. Parsley will usually flower and set seed in the second year after planting. Either collect the seeds as they dry or trim back the see heads as soon as they appear to keep a bushy plant through the second year. In the third year, you will most likely need to re-plant.
There are several varieties of Parsley, but the best known are Flat Leaf Parsley and Curly Leaf Parsley. I’m a curly leaf girl myself. I just think it looks so pretty. It is also a bit more bushy and compact. It adds dimension to the garden, indoors or out.
Soil – Parsley likes soil that is moist (not wet) and moderately rich.
Container – Parsley prefers a clay pot that has enough leg room for its taproot, which can grow to be quite long. Some varieties of parsley are grown for the root alone.
Light Requirements – A partially sunny to shady spot is ideal for Parsley. Filtered sunlight or the morning and afternoon shade are best.
Starting by Seed – Parsley seeds have a hard outer shell and can take some time to germinate – several weeks. One suggestion is to take the seeds and soak them for 24 hours in warm water before planting.
Be sure to follow the package directions in regards to how deep to plant the seed and how moist to keep the soil for optimum germination. I suggest that with all newly planted seeds you keep the loosely covered with Saran Wrap and mist the soil adequately every other day. Direct watering can disturb the seeds or even drown them.
Starting by Nursery Seedling – Parsley does not really like to be disturbed in its seedling stage. Be sure that when you are transplanting your seedling from the nursery that you have the new container prepared and tepid water at the ready. The easiest way to remove a seedling from the store container is to water it and then carefully loosen around the edges of the pot. Gently remove the seedling and place immediately into the new pot. Water generously. Do not put newly transplanted seedlings into direct sunlight, but rather give them a few hours to a few days to get used to their new surroundings.
Watering – Parsley doesn’t tolerate irregular watering very well, consider employing a wicking system to give it an even supply of water. One type of wicking system is to place the pot on a dish/small pie plate lined with pebbles. Rather than water directly from overhead, filled the dish with the pebbles, add water and the parsley will ‘wick up’ the water it needs.
There are several folk legends about parsley. One says that it is unlucky to transplant parsley from an old garden into a new one. Another tells that the seeds must go to the devil and back again 9 times before they sprout an attempt to explain the slowness with which the seeds germinate…Parsley was used quite frequently by the ancient Greeks. Garlands or bouquets of the leaves were hung about the neck or worn as a crown at banquets to absorb the fumes of wine and prevent drunkenness. After eating, parsley was chewed to clean the mouth and sweeten one’s breath. Parsley was also made into wreaths that crowned the winners at Nemean Games. Occasionally, it was used as a strewing herb.
Tomorrow – you guessed it – Sage!