How to grow parsley at home and know its benefits?
Parsley is not just for boosting the taste, the hidden benefit lies in the compound lutein and zeaxanthin content which enhances eyesight as we know the fact that most of the people has eye problems these days because of excessive use of Mobiles, computer or TV’s.
Due to its multi-use these are preferred species for our herb and vegetable garden. Let’s explore its benefits and learn how to grow Parsley at our home garden.
Parsley, known by different local name such as chervil, effirin, etc. is an aromatic flowering herb species belonging to carrot family i.e. Apiaceae. These are one of the most commonly cultivated highly-fragrant herb for garden cultivation. It is widely used as garnish or flavoring in many dishes and salads. These plants also carry traditional and cultural significance for many local residents. This easy-growing, nutrient-rich and valuable herb is native to Central-Mediterranean that includes Southern Italy and Northern Africa but, recently is dominant and popular garden herbs in the United States and almost all parts of the world.
TYPES OF PARSLEY CULTIVATED AT HOME GARDENS
- Common or Curled-leaf Parsley
- Flat-leaf or Italian Parsley
- Hamburg or Turnip-rooted Parsley
Flat-leaf (Italian) Parsley
- Produce a rosette of bi or tri-pinnate leaves i.e. 10-25 cm long with numerous 1-3 cm leaflets during 1st year.
- Produce flowering stalk up to 100 cm high in second year.
- Flowers are yellow or yellowish green in color.
- 2-3 mm long fruits.
- Plant normally dies after seed maturation.
- Curled-leaf parsley- leaves as a garnish, and dried or dehydrated in food product.
- Italian parsley- leaves as a flavoring in sauces, soups and stews.
- Turnip-rooted parsley- For production of enlarged edible roots.
- Leaves create a juice or brew for a tree.
- Contains antioxidants, minerals, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K.
- Contains minerals, potassium, iron and copper.
- Breath freshening.
- Fights breathing problems or bad breath, also known as halitosis in medical term.
- Boost immunity.
- Ameliorate bone health.
- Improve and strengthen digestive health.
- Considered as power-house herb.
- Contain cancer-fighting supplements.
- Improve heart health.
United states (U.S) Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient database has suggested that one cup of chopped parsley contains
- Calories: 22
- Protein: 1.78 gram
- Fat: 0.47 gram
- Carbohydrate: 3.8 gram
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Sugar: 0.51 gram
- Vitamin A: 5,054 international units (IU)
- Vitamin C: 79.8 micro-grams
- Vitamin K: 984 micro-grams
SOIL PROPERTIES AND REQUIRED CLIMATIC CONDITION
Can be grow through the year if given proper care
Parsley has power to cope with cold winter (not the frost) and hot summers but
For commercial growers mild coastal climate is best.
Optimum growth temperature for parsley is somewhat between 15 and 18 ° C.
Best growth in compost-rich soil with pH ranging between 6.0 and 7.0
Well draining soil, sand-lime soil rich in humus
At home it can be grown with potting mix in room temperature.
- Direct seeding in fields
- Growing indoor (pots)
Both methods have bright light requirement as they grow best in sunny area.
Inside house grow light help them to boost the growth.
- Get a fresh parsley seed as possible as it speed germination. If not, get a seed from nearby supermarket and soak it in warm water for 24 hours.
- For direct seeding; preferred during early spring- sow seeds directly on the home garden at about three times depth compared to size of seed and 20-30 cm apart.
- Keep the soil moist for entire growing season.
- As it is slow sprouting species i.e. may takes 2-3 weeks, it is better to make a rows in garden if possible for better weeding and composting purpose in future.
- For growing indoor, first fill the pots with soil and plenty of organic matters like compost manure. Then, plant seed in individual pots i.e. 10-12 weeks prior to spring frost.
- As parsley is a slow starter hence could take 2-3 weeks to sprout. But if you have large pot it is better to have 20 cm spacing for its proper growth. We can grow them in clusters too.
- To ensure best growth soil should be around temperature of 70° F. So, preferable to be in area with sufficient light like windows, outside stairs, balcony etc.
- Compatible to grow along with asparagus and tomatoes.
- Avoid growing close to potatoes.
IRRIGATION AND TENDING OPERATIONS
Sprinkler irrigation should be done during the first three weeks and seeds should not be dry at any time.
Remove weeds if any, for its proper growth.
After this period, water deeply once a week to ensure enough moisture level in soil but be careful that regular deep water will result in yellowing of leaves of parsley.
After 8-10 weeks, again hoeing for weeds removal is needed to be carried out.
A light mulch of grasses and leaves will helps to retain moisture contain hence, mulching is also recommended for its effective development.
- N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash fertilizers should be used at a ratio of 1:1:1 for effective production.
- Used organic manure such as cow dung, chicken fecal matters and dug-pit (compost) manure from home waste.
- Mulching practice will retain moisture and reduce evapo-transpiration and increases soil fertility too.
- Self made compost can be used. Link provide you with the easy way to make compost at home( https://youtu.be/cEkZmstmWrc )
Generally leaves are harvested after 60-70 days but seeds are harvested after 180-190 days of transplanting.
If only stalks are sniped off the ground, it will prune throughout growing seasons. Leaves can be harvested as soon as the species have 3 distinct parts i.e. root, stem and leaves.
Cut them from outside edges so that inner growth could mature.
But generally, seeds are harvested only after maturation and used in cooking as well as for next year regeneration.
PRESERVATION AND STORAGE
- Dry the leaves by hanging upside down with the help of ropes or by spreading them on screen
- For quick drying of leaves you can oven dry at 100-110° F for few minutes.
- Store dry leaves away from heat source.
- It could be stored in fridge by dipping its stalks in water for long term storage.
- Freezing retains flavor better than drying.
INTERESTING FUN FACTS
- Parsley has been cultivated for more than 2000 years now.
- It is believed that “Charles the Great” the Holy Roman Emperor made this plant famous by planting it all over his property.
- There are only 36 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of parsley.
- It is used in detoxification of body too.
- Chimichurri is the South American sauce with high level of fresh parsley.
- French cuisine includes mixtures of chopped garlic and chopped parsley.
- Less than 0.5% of essential oils is present in parsley.
What are your views on parsley and their importance in home gardens. Do you believe it is worth to have this species in your vegetable garden? If there is any more interesting facts and planting techniques that you feel is effective, please feel free to comments in this article. Let’s share our knowledge and help the curious, motivated and needy ones. I hope you will be a part of this shared-learning approach.
Your comments will be highly appreciated.