The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Growing parsley

Photo: December parsley

Photo: December parsley

“I need quite a lot of parsley to make a decent sauce.”
My friend Jo was harvesting handfuls of lush Italian flat leaf parsley. In January.
“But how do you get it to grow so well in mid winter?”
“The secret is a cloche.” She gently set a long smart cloche over the bountiful row.
“We grow new plants every other year so it’s always at its best. And I find that the flavour of flat leaf parsley is better.”

I like the look of the curled parsley and have never tried growing the flat leaf varieties. In fact I’m pretty hopeless with parsley. I haven’t even been able to germinate the seeds in my electric propagator. So I tend to buy a box of plantlets each Spring for Danny’s parsley and thyme bath. By July the parsley looks promising but it rarely survives the winter.

My mum’s parsley self seeds like a weed in her garden but it keeled over in mine.
“Just pour some boiling water into the furrow when you set the seeds. Let a couple of plants go to seed and you will have new plants in the Spring. It’s easy.”
More like maddening and expensive for me – even pots of parsley bought at the supermarket would take a peek at the kitchen windowsill and die within days.

So this Spring I actually opened a book and discovered that parsley is a greedy feeder. For some unknown reason I thought that parsley didn’t need much attention. I knew that it likes a lot of water so just the parsley half of the bath is watered. This seems to suit the thyme plants fine.

Determined to compete in the parsley growing stakes, I bought some more established plants – including a pot of flat leaf parsley. I fed the parsley at two weekly intervals with an organic tomato feed. This seems to have done the trick.

The flat leaf parsley has romped away. Even the curled parsley has had its best summer ever. I’m now protecting my parsley plants with a pair of self watering cloches that I found at the back of the shed. Perhaps this is the first year that we can use our own parsley on Christmas Day.

And in the New Year I’m determined to propagate some seeds. So any tips would be very welcome.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Magic Cochin

    Gosh you are so lucky 🙂 Or should I say talented. I’m very envious of your green fingers.

  2. magic cochin

    Yesterday I found hundreds of parsley seedlings springing up like cress all round the brick paths in the veg garden!

    What’s that all about then? Maybe I’ll weed them out as I use them.


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