How To Grow Vitamin-Rich Parsley

Don't just banish parsley to the role of garnish—this powerful green stuff can fight bad breath and more!

May 15, 2017
parsley growing
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Parsley really has a lot more to offer than just being the token garnish on a plate of steak or fish. This herb is an excellent addition to most recipes, is rich in vitamins A and C and minerals like calcium, and iron, and fights bad breath. (For more great herbs to grow, check out these 6 herbs that grow back year after year.) You can even use parsley in a natural face mask to help with under eye circles and puffiness. 

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need.)

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Parsley also has a long history. In ancient Greece, parsley was placed in wreaths given to winning athletes because the Greeks believed that the god Hercules had chosen parsley for his garlands. The herb was also so important to the Greeks that it was used in their funeral ceremonies and to make wreaths for graves. 

Related: 10 Tips For Growing An Organic Herb Garden On A Budget

How To Grow Parsley

Parsley is a biennial plant grown as an annual; it will grow in gardening zones 5 through 9 (Find your zone here). You can choose from two parsley varieties: curly leaf and flat-leaf. Flat-leaf parsley typically has a stronger flavor, while the curly variety is more associated with garnishing a plate. 

Soil preparation: Parsley grows best in rich, moist, well-drained organic soil in full sun to partial shade.

Planting: Sow seeds outdoors when the soil temperature averages 50°F. You'll need some patience because parsley seed germinates extremely slowly, often requiring 6 weeks before the seedlings poke up through the soil. (You can speed germination by soaking the seeds in water overnight before planting.)

Spacing: Once the seedlings pop up, thin them to 8 to 10 inches apart.

Related: 6 Absolute Easiest Herbs To Grow Indoors

harvest parsley
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Harvesting the herb 

You can begin harvesting parsley as soon as the plants are growing vigorously.

Snip individual outer stems from the plants; they'll continue to produce new growth all season long. Parsley dries and freezes well. (Here's more on how to preserve herbs.) If you dry it, crush it by hand after it's completely dry and store it in an airtight container.

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