Parsley is one of those easy to grow landscape edibles that adds beauty to your garden and flavor to your cooking. Here in Northern Virginia, parsley can stay green above ground all winter long (I took this photo in January 2016).
I always use parsley fresh, not dried, partly because I have several plants in my garden, year round. Since it is a biennial, I sow seeds every spring to ensure that I have plants. Mine are Italian Gigante from Renee’s Garden which is a type of flat leaf or Italian parsley, best for culinary purposes. There is a curly leaf type but that is best used as a garnish. Parsley can be grown from seed or can be bought as a small plant from the local nurseries in the spring/summer. Sometimes, if a plant begins to flower before I am able to harvest the leaves, I let it flower and set seed so the seed can drop and germinate next year. I started growing parsley years ago and now have a string of plants just beneath the deck, in a place that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. Parsley likes organic matter, moisture, and morning sun or dappled sun. My plants are in the ground but they also can be grown in containers and window boxes.
To harvest, cut outer, older leaves at the base, leaving the core or inner, younger leaves. Cut with scissors (don’t pull) and put in a large bowl of water for about 20 minutes (to wash the foliage and drown any bugs). Pat dry and cut the leaves and stems into small pieces with scissors or a knife.
I harvest leaves for my bean stews, roasted vegetables, pierogis, pasta, and salads. I have used leaves for garnish for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and on plates of fruit.
Known for vitamin A, C, and K, parsley’s high level of chlorophyll also freshens your breath!
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