Parsley - Paramount Curly Parsley

Avg seeds/pkt 410

Curly parsley is hands-down my most useful herb. It goes into just about everything and is the main ingredient in pesto with walnuts, and in tabouli salad. Its best features are a lively texture, and a tendency to sweeten after a frost. Taste-tests have shown no difference with its flat-leaved cousin.

Indoors, 10 weeks before your average last frost date, press several tiny seeds 1/8 inch deep into pots of seed-starting mix. Moisten, and cover: parsley needs darkness to germinate. Outdoors, 2 weeks before your average last frost date, sow several seeds every 5 inches, cover with a thin layer of soil and water gently. Thick, weighted strips of newspaper on top of the seed bed can effectively block light and help maintain soil moisture.

Whether you start parsley plants indoors or outside, germination takes as long as 3 weeks. It may go faster if seeds are frozen for a few days, and then (after reaching room temperature) soaked in warm water for 24 hours, before planting in a sunny spot with well-drained, rich and fertile soil. Thin seedlings to one clump every 10 inches if larger plants are desired. Side-dress every two weeks with a light, balanced granular fertilizer and harvest stems when they are between 6 and 12 inches tall.

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